Charisma, status, and gender in Groups with and without gurus

John Levi Martin*, Tod van Gunten, Benjamin D. Zablocki

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

A number of studies have noted that small religious groups with charismatic leaders seem to have different gender dynamics than do groups without. We argue that the presence of such a leader changes what charisma "means" in such a group. Without such a leader, strong personalities may appear charismatic and lead to positions of high status-and such dynamics historically have tended to be associated with a positional advantage to males. With such a leader, however, charisma is more likely to be compatible with receptivity and decoupled from gender characteristics that tend to disadvantage women, leading charismatic women to have greater status than they would otherwise have.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)20-41
Number of pages22
JournalJournal for the Scientific Study of Religion
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2012
Externally publishedYes

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • charisma
  • gender
  • gurus
  • leadership


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