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Title: Leading the Hare Krishna Movement : the crisis of succession in the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, 1977-1987
Author: Burt, Angela Ruth
Awarding Body: University of Leeds
Current Institution: University of Leeds
Date of Award: 2013
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This thesis looks at the issues of religiou's leadership and succession in the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), a modern Vaishnava movement. Following the passing away of its founder, Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, in 1977, the movement was led by a group of gurus in a 'zonal system' until their authority was challenged and reformed in the mid 1980s. The thesis examines the defining characteristics of leadership in ISKCON in this decade, and the developments that led to the transformation of the 'zonal acharya system' to a guru system not based on zonal divisions, in which the power and authority of the gurus was greatly reduced. The work of Louis Dumont and J. c. Heesterman have been used to illuminate the key themes of hierarchy, status, power and authority in ISKCON at this time, and Max Weber's concepts of authority and the routinisation of charisma have also been drawn on. They form the basis for the analysis of the interviews conducted with leaders and other members of ISKCON and the documentary evidence from the time (letters, minutes of meetings and position papers). The work of these theorists has been of value in navigating the confluence of Western and Indian concepts of power and authority in this modern institutionalised form of the Vaishnava tradition. On a broader level, this thesis provides an interesting case in the study of religion, since it represents the conjunction of a number of key issues -religious leadership, succession, tradition and modernity, power relations, institutional dynamics, and the coming together of Eastern traditions and Western culture. It calls on scholars to take the worldviews of such traditions seriously, rather than simply analysing them from the standpoint of Western intellectual paradigms.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available