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New Models of Academic Leadership


Thematic issue edited by dr hab. Michał Łuczewski (University of Warsaw, Two Wings Institute), prof. dr hab. Anna Giza-Poleszczuk (University of Warsaw, Faculty of Sociology), Piotr Czekierda (Two Wings Institute) and Filip Łapiński (University of Warsaw, Two Wings Institute). 

Deadline for submitting abstracts: 30 December 2022

A new sociology of leadership – is it even possible? Although sociology’s classic thinkers, such as Max Weber, Florian Znaniecki, and Robert Merton, analyzed the question of leadership, later the topic fell into disgrace and was overtaken by psychology, organizational development, and expansive leadership studies, which eventually constituted the field itself. 

In this context, it is emblematic that even important contemporary scholars like Pierpaolo Donati and Margaret Archer – who underline the importance of agency, in contradistinction to the more structural approaches of Pierre Bourdieu, Niklas Luhmann, and Jürgen Habermas – disapprove of the very term “leadership”, as they claim it can divert scholars’ attention from the collective to the individual.

Neglect of the theme of leadership, and its export solely to business or politics, left universities helpless in face of the managerial revolution and political polarization, which entered academia and eliminated models of leadership tailored to its needs. Just as the CEE-management field was overridden by Western crusaders of leadership, so now the university has been colonized and bureaucratized with criteria and practices foreign to its spirit and mission. This process is apparent worldwide as well as in Poland, where the former ethos of the intelligentsia is being replaced with a new managerial, capitalist spirit – without consideration of the costs.

On the other hand, new trends in social science have promising potential to cast a new, long-sought light on leadership. The new sociology of science, the sociology of social movements, the sociology of elites/the state, the sociology of ethos groups, cultural sociology, and relational sociology, which are represented by prominent scholars such as Randall Collins, Michael P. Farell, Tomasz Zarycki, Stanisław Ossowski, Barbara Czarniawska, Monika Kostera, and Elżbieta Hałas, are ripe with insights that should be tested and applied in the realm of leadership.

As a result, the crucial question inevitably appears: how can sociology apply its most important approaches and notions to leadership studies?

In this special issue of Stan Rzeczy (State of Affairs), we set out to seek new and more robust models that would enable us both to understand leadership in a sociological way and to face the growing polarization that is occurring in all spheres of life. How can we analyze the polarization at universities and elsewhere? How can polarization be addressed, and most importantly, how can we leverage polarities instead of succumbing to their destructive dynamics? How can academia, which itself is criticized for falling prey to polarization, tackle these questions? What are good examples and exemplars of such depolarizing practices? Who (and where) are the scholar-practitioners who not only acknowledge the growing divisions of the social world but also try to mend them?

We invite all scholars who are interested in our daring endeavor of approaching leadership from a sociological perspective to contribute to our upcoming issue. We want to maintain a strong practical inclination towards conclusions that could help contemporary academia (and the world) in overcoming intractable conflicts, ideological differences, and the inevitable tensions grounded in the structure of social reality.

We encourage scholars to send proposals for articles on the following topics:

  • Academic leadership
  • Leadership as seen by sociology’s classic thinkers
  • Contemporary sociological interpretations of leadership
  • Polarisation and academia
  • The impact of scholar-practioners
  • Visions and missions of the university
  • The role of beauty, truth, and relational goods in academia
  • Creativity, group-flow, friendship in academic work
  • Spiritual, contemplative (self-)leadership
  • Emotionally healthy academia

/// All authors interested in participating should send article proposals by 30 December 2022. After that date, the issue editors will examine the submissions and send invitations to chosen authors. Subsequently, the articles written in accordance with Author Guidelines should be submitted by the end of April 2023.

/// Abstract proposals and full articles should be sent to Filip Łapiński ( In the event of questions or other inquiries concerning the journal issue, interested parties may contact the chief issue editor, Prof. Michał Łuczewski –

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