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Leadership Performance and Rhetoric

This book examines both the rhetorical content of contemporary public leadership and the leadership methods pioneered by early English statesman Sir Francis Bacon. In particular, it considers the use of public rhetoric to defend leadership legitimacy in six case studies, drawing on leadership contests in recent Australian political history. The authors map out the complex language of leadership in contemporary politics through chapter-length portraits of the inter-related political rhetoric of prime ministers Rudd, Gillard, Abbott and Turnbull, plus former foreign minister Bob Carr and indigenous leader Noel Pearson. The process is a novel application of leadership analysis derived from the political philosophy of Francis Bacon, who emerges as a founder of the study, and indeed practice, of political and public leadership. The book will appeal to students and scholars across the fields of political science, communication and rhetorical studies, and political history.
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"Words are actions, and leaders know it. This thought-provoking study sheds light on the rhetorical battles that have shaped Australia's recent political history - and it's a cracking good read to boot." (Dr Dennis Grube, University of Cambridge, UK) "An original diagnosis of political rhetoric, in theory and practice. The important thesis: leadership studies can renew itself by returning to its "neglected founder," the enlightenment philosopher Francis Bacon. For Bacon provides a comprehensive art of persuasion that can defend scientific and social innovation and thus "new levels of human welfare." The authors analyze accordingly six Australian instances, including a prime minister, Julia Gillard, combatting misogyny and a public intellectual, Noel Pearson, defending indigenous people. Here is a seriously provocative book on Bacon-style political communication with a freebie: snapshots of Australian democracy in action." (Professor Robert Faulkner, Boston College, USA)

About the Author

Adam B. Masters is Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Transnational Research Institute on Corruption at the Australian National University. John Uhr is Director of the Centre for the Study of Australian Politics at the Australian National University.

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