Publication Date

2013

Abstract

Purpose: “Leadership” is arguably the central concept of interest in contemporary scholarship on educational administration. Within this scholarly discourse, there is an explicit assumption that leadership is a “real” phenomenon that is not only important, but also necessary for educational institutions. However, few scholars engage with issues surrounding the confusion of a socially constructed label with an assumed empirical reality. The aim of this paper is to mobilise critical social theory and to discuss the concept of leadership in educational administration.

Design/methodology/approach: To engage with this matter, the author mobilises critical social theory, specifically that of Pierre Bourdieu, to discuss the concept of leadership in educational administration.

Findings: In doing so, the author argues that: “leadership” is a label taken from common language into scholarly discourse for the purpose of solving a perceived problem in the empirical world, and that this is made possible through a particular constitution of the social space.

Research limitations/implications: The central argument of this paper challenges the hegemonic position of educational leadership scholarship, particularly its mobilisation of context, both time and space.

Originality/value: Unlike scholarship focused on developing an explanation of what constitutes leadership, this paper engages with the abstraction of “leadership” as an educational administration concept.

School/Institute

School of Education

Document Type

Journal Article

Access Rights

ERA Access

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