A cult of personality arises when an individual uses mass media, propaganda, or other methods, to create an idealized, heroic, and, at times god-like public image, often through unquestioning flattery and praise. Sociologist Max Weber developed a tripartite classification of authority; the cult of personality holds parallels with what Weber defined as “charismatic authority”. A cult of personality is similar to hero worship, except that it is established by mass media and propaganda.
A 1950s Chinese propaganda poster showing a happy family of five enjoying life under the image of Mao Zedong. The caption above the picture reads “The happy life Chairman Mao gives us”.