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Theorizing dramaturgical resistance leadership from the leadership campaigns of Jeremy Corbyn

Sinha, Paresha; Smolović Jones, Owain; Carroll, Brigid


Paresha Sinha

Brigid Carroll


What are the practices through which resistance leadership transitions from marginality to power? We present a framework of dramaturgical resistance leadership, paying particular attention to the relational dynamics between leaders, internal factions and external stakeholders. In doing so, we draw on an ‘expanded’ social drama analysis framework informed by the work of social anthropologist Victor Turner, incorporating insights from the resistance and critical leadership studies literatures. We develop our framework through a narrative case analysis of the British Labour Party’s 2015 and 2016 internal elections of its current leader Jeremy Corbyn where we identify a space between the phases of relational crisis and redress that offers possibilities for the enhancement and growth of resistance leadership. Within this space, we identify three practices of dramaturgical resistance leadership: ‘anti-establishment leadering’, ‘organizational redrawing’, and a ‘trifold focus’. These offer a means of rethinking the purpose and role of leaders within resistance movements alongside the co-constituted relations and generative practices that enable resisting groups to gain traction.


Sinha, P., Smolović Jones, O., & Carroll, B. (2021). Theorizing dramaturgical resistance leadership from the leadership campaigns of Jeremy Corbyn. Human Relations, 74(3), 354-382.

Journal Article Type Article
Online Publication Date Nov 25, 2019
Publication Date 2021-03
Deposit Date Jan 7, 2024
Journal Human Relations
Print ISSN 0018-7267
Electronic ISSN 1741-282X
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 74
Issue 3
Pages 354-382
Public URL