How new global challenges shape political leadership?

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Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi state university, Faculty of social and political sciences
Political leadership is one of the categories pivotal to understanding political processes. Yet, its definition remains elusive. As a processual and dynamic phenomenon, political leadership needs to be defined contextually. Equally, it always implies interaction with other individuals. The ongoing theoretical dispute as to whether an individual creates history or whether history determines the course of the world is still unresolved. A literature review shows that the historical evolution of leadership includes, first and foremost, theory of personality traits of leaders as well as behavioural and situational concepts of leadership phenomenon. Recent study has found that a new kind of leadership is appearing before our eyes. In addition to the traditional or marketing-oriented models of leadership, its new concept is more embedded in the communication sphere with intensified medialization of politics, as media makes an impact on political actors and their voters. Furthermore, this trend in the leadership transformation is reinforced by the emergence of particular circumstances. Therefore, in the „new pandemic reality” followed by the global crisis the political leadership has made a comeback. The paper claims that the emergence of new variables or constraints might bring about the evolution of leadership. An empirical evidence for this argument is provided, inter alia, by the outburst of the Covid-19 pandemic, followed by the medical aid that Georgia has provided for its breakaway territories, especially in Abkhazia. It is from the crisis that a rare opportunity for enhancing Georgia‟s engagement in both regions has arisen, one that Georgia‟s leadership might have taken advantage of this situation to resume stability talks, for instance. The emergence of the ”new pandemic reality” has created an opportunity for world leaders to adopt various strategies to overcome the threat. Thus, the transformation of leadership might be one of the most significant determinants of the upcoming changes. Given these points, the research challenge is to explore how the emergence of the new concept of political leadership may affect the functioning of states and modern societies in the conditions of changing world.
political leadership theory, Georgia, breakaway territories, COVID-19 pandemic