Faith in the Corridors of Power

Book_JacketBy D. Michael Lindsay

The International Leadership Association and the Jepson School of Leadership Studies and is pleased to announce the winner of the 2006 Jablin Dissertation Award. The dissertation award was established in 1999 to encourage young scholars to develop research on leadership. It was renamed in 2004 in memory of Jepson School professor Fredric M. Jablin. In 2005, the ILA began partnering with Jepson to bring the Jablin award winner to the annual ILA conference to present a paper based on their dissertation and receive their award in an offi cial ceremony.

This year’s winner is Dr. D. Michael Lindsay. Michael wrote his dissertation at Princeton University in the sociology department. In it, he demonstrates the mechanisms through which evangelical leaders have risen in prominence and prestige in politics, business, arts and the media, and higher education. Michael presented his work and received the award from Jepson professor J. Donaldson Forsyth, Colonel Leo K. and Gaylee Thorsness Chair in Ethical Leadership on Saturday, November 4th at the ILA annual conference. Michael Genovese (L in Photo) commented on Lindsay's presentation at the conference.

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Conference Paper: 'Faith in the Corridors of Power'

Typically, social scientists examine social movements as grassroots phenomena, but public leaders and elite actors play important roles in the advance of particular social movements. This paper examines their role in one contemporary social movement, American evangelicalism. Through semi-structured interviews with over 350 elite informants as well as archival and ethnographic research, I explore the mechanisms through which leaders have enabled evangelicalism’s advance between 1976 and 2006. Informants for this study include two former Presidents of the United States; over 25 Cabinet secretaries and senior White House staffers; over 100 CEOs or senior executives at large firms (both public and private); two dozen accomplished Hollywood professionals; over 10 leaders from the world of professional athletics, and a handful of leaders from the artistic and philanthropic arenas, among others. Through the expenditure of four kinds of resources—political influence, financial capital, academic cachet, and the ability to inspire and create—these public leaders have founded organizations, formed networks, exercised convening power, and drawn upon formal and informal positions of authority to advance the evangelical movement. This empirical study demonstrates the persistence of institutional differentiation among America’s leadership cohort, but it also points to a religious identity that has provided vital, crossdomain cohesion among many who occupy positions of public power.

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Author_PhotoD. Michael Lindsay is a sociologist who specializes in issues surrounding elites, religion, and culture. The author of several books, articles, and research reports, Lindsay received his Ph.D. in sociology from Princeton as a National Science Foundation Graduate Fellow. His research interests include stratifi cation, civil society, political life and government, organizations and institutions, and the social dynamics of leadership. He is presently completing the nation’s largest and most comprehensive study of societal leaders who are people of faith.

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This book is due out October 2007 from Oxford University Press

This material has been excerpted with the permission of the copyright holder.