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Kirsner, D. Richards, M. (2009). Editorial. Int. J. Appl. Psychoanal. Stud., 6(2):101-102.

(2009). International Journal of Applied Psychoanalytic Studies, 6(2):101-102


Douglas Kirsner, Ph.D. and Mike Richards, Ph.D.

This is the second of our two special issues on “Psychoanalysis and Political Leadership”; our first special issue about “Psychoanalysis and Political Leadership” (International Journal of Applied Psychoanalytic Studies, vol. 5, no. 3) was published in 2008.

Some readers of this journal will be familiar with the work of the late Graham Little (1939-2000). Together with his close colleague, A. F. Davies, Little was a political psychologist at the University of Melbourne for many years and wrote extensively about political leaders and leadership from a psychoanalytic point of view. His subjects included Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher as well as two recent Australian prime ministers, Bob Hawke and Malcolm Fraser. Theoretically, Little used the work of Bion and Object Relations theorists, and built on the sociological contributions of David Reisman and political psychologists such as Fred Greenstein and Robert Lane. In this issue we feature a summation and evaluation of Little's theoretical contributions to an understanding of leadership by Judith Brett, Professor of Politics at La Trobe University, who was a close colleague and editor of Little's writings.

Little's innovative discussion of “middle way” leaders gives a particular focus to British prime minister Tony Blair and locates the psychology of middle way leadership in unconscious aggression, denial of differences, idealizing and parental identifications. Little's discussion of middle way leaders who cross conventional political boundaries also strikes a clear chord today in relation to the ascendancy of Barack Obama.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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