The article describes leadership concepts developed in political anthropology from its very beginnings until modern times. The author tries to trace the history of anthropological reflection on political leadership and shows how its understanding in different theoretical orientation was changing. These changes are discussed against the background of socio-political transformations taking place in the Western world. The article presents the views of evolutionists, classical functionalist concepts of leadership and their subsequent modifications made by representatives of processualism and the theory of action as well as the concepts of power and authority developed by neo-evolutionists. The last part of the article addresses most recent studies on leadership in the post-colonial world and in pluralist Western societies. The history of anthropological studies on leadership shows how its understanding has evolved - from formal understanding, when leadership was perceived as a category identical to an exercise of power, to approaches in which leadership is understood as a dynamic structure, an aspect of social practice inseparably connected to other areas of culture such as kinship, power, prestige, religion, economics or law.
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