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One scholar who has long been deeply concerned with the question of biography as a scientific mode is Thomas Chr. Wyller, notably in his book on Christian Michelsen as a politician, published in Oslo in 1975. More recently he has been working on Einar Gerhardsen as a political leader, with special emphasis on the methodological principles involved in writing political biographies. He points out that we still lack not only the data, but also the methods and theories necessary to elucidate Gerhardsen's role: ``Basic methodological problems remain unsolved. How does one place an outstanding individual in a context of collective processes?'' (4) . In the course of his work on Gerhardsen, Wyller gave the problem the following pointed formulation:(5)

    Individual political leadership has been neglected in political theory, both descriptively and normatively. Democratic models have built into them what amounts to a taboo against the very recognition of ``the one'' as a legitimate dimension. One result of the emphasis on equality and mass participation is that only peripheral - normative and descriptive - attention has been paid to the need for and exercise of leadership. ``Personality'' in politics has generally been played down in favour of the collective, groups, organisations, and parties. Valid generalising reasoning is rare: the stage is held by popular biographies.

The author of the present dissertation agrees with Wyller that the Norwegian research environment has been reluctant to focus on political leadership by particular individuals. An attempt will therefore be made here to comment on ``individual political leadership... `the one' as a legitimate dimension'': in other words, on what part a party leader can play in shaping the policies of his party.

In this connection, biography offers one definite advantage over the general political monograph. In Berge Furre's words, it can ``take a sample of the guts of the historical process for dissection''. One can see ``the process behind the process...''.(6) Whereas a general study has to survey all the multitude of ideas and visions in a party and must often resort to describing them rather superficially, the special angle of the biographer considering his ``individual as a political dimension'' enables him to probe deeply. The study of an individual leader can give one a relatively clear picture of the parts played in the struggle over a party's policies by the need for personal power, say, or by personal ideas. Having dug beyond collective group interests, one has an opportunity to see how much personal experience and individual characteristics affect how the group or party behaves towards other groups or parties. At the same time, this takes one to the heart of the political decision-making process, justifying Göran B. Nilsson's summing up of ``biography as the source of development''.(7)

One of the main hazards of even a scientific and problem-oriented biography is that of becoming so broad and general that it loses sight of the very insight and perspective which biography is so uniquely fitted to give. Some delimitation and focussing on particular periods is thus called for. The present analysis will specifically be carried out with the Norwegian Communist Party as its object, and General Secretary Furubotn as its subject. Its main task will be to find out something about what scope he had as party leader to define the party's policies.

The period chosen is 1945 to 1950, because that is when the party played its most significant part in Norwegian politics. It was then Furubotn was its main leader, and should have had every opportunity to influence its policies. What went wrong for him during this period, causing him to be thrust out into the political outer darkness?

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