Modern Believing

Authority, Followership and ‘Humbition’

Modern Believing (2013), 54, (1), 3–13.

Abstract

When strangers come in and assume authority they may operate in a colonial style, which aggravates and alienates the ‘natives’. This paper explores non-colonising ways of being ‘strange’ and ‘authoritative’, noting that women in positions of religious authority are often strangers with an authority that is simultaneously recognised and not recognised, a dual status made official in the Church of England. Showing how the Christlike virtue of meekness holds a stranger-danger for women, the paper seeks to transcend the seemingly opposite poles of ambition and service, using the notion of ‘humbition’. It also highlights the need for follower training alongside leadership training, since critically responsible followers create good leaders, and, more importantly, work for overall good outcomes.

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Author details

Harris, Harriet