Charm Offensive: a group discussion on charisma and authority.
Charisma is defined as ‘A gift or power of leadership or authority’, and so brings together authority with special ‘personable’ qualities, especially a seemingly magical touch in making connections with others.
When thinking of charismatic figures in history (Jesus, Churchill, Kennedy, Obama), we find that there is a very close relation between patriarchy and charisma, perhaps even being synonymous. This leads to a whole set of important questions: can there be a female envisioning of the charismatic? If we want to question authoritarian tendencies, must we also question charm, and yet does this mean that anti-authoritarianism is necessarily charmless? What does charm without patriarchy look like? How does this ‘special touch’ operate without generating individualism and ego-maniacs?