Relational approaches and the challenge for studying organizations

An interdisciplinary workshop, 14-15 July 2016 (UNSW)

Call for Papers

In his classic paper, Manifesto for a relational sociology, Emirbayer (1997) declares that ‘social thinkers from a wide variety of disciplinary backgrounds, national traditions, and analytic and empirical points of view are fast converging upon this [a relational] frame of reference’ (p. 311). As part of an increasingly global (social) scientific community, the end of the Cold War, colonialism shifting from physical occupation to the epistemic production of territories, and the need to understand and communicate with non-Western societies, relational approaches offer a productive direction for scholarship (Prandini, 2015). The catalyst for these approaches – the plural is deliberate – is the critique of the substantialist, or entity-based, approaches that have come to dominate contemporary social thought and analysis.

Key thinkers in contemporary relational sociology include: Crossley (2011); Depelteau and Powell (2013; Powell & Depelteau, 2013); Donati (2011); Fuhse (2015); Emirbayer (1997); Mische (2011); and White (2007). While originally very much centered in New York (notably White at Harvard University and Tilly at Harvard then Columbia, and what Mische labels the ‘New York School of Relational Sociology’), Italian Donati has been developing his position for over 30 years (Donati, 1983, 1991, 2015), Fuhse hosted an international symposium at Humboldt University of Berlin in 2008, and there is a strong Canadian network – primarily advanced through a research cluster within the Canadian Sociological Association (La Société Canadienne de Sociologie). Prandini (2015) reminds us that while major methodological advances occurred in the United States, relational sociology has strong roots and seeds in the European tradition, owing to the work of Marx, Simmel, Tarde, Elias, Luhmann, Bourdieu and Latour, just to name a few. As Emirbayer notes, interest in relational scholarship is beyond national boundaries.

A similar shift, although far less diverse, is taking place in the broader management / leadership sciences. Covering perspectives such as social exchange, leader-member exchange, vertical dyadic linkage, among others, and well captured in Uhl-Bien and Ospina’s (2012) Advancing relational leadership research: a dialogue among perspectives, relational approaches now feature prominently in key journals (Dinh et al., 2014), and are perceived to be at the cutting-edge of contemporary thought and analysis (Hunt & Dodge, 2000).

However, the mobilization of relational approaches remains problematic. Sociologists argue the distinction between substantialist and relational accounts, whereas in the leadership literatures both entity-based (substantialist) and relational epistemologies are grouped under the label of relational (Uhl-Bien, 2006). To further highlight some of the tensions of language across fields, Emirbayer’s classic article uses ‘transactional’ (somewhat synonymously with relational) as a label, yet in leadership and management literatures it has a very different history in opposition to transformational leadership. What remains however is a shift from leader-, or person-, centric accounts to recognition of practice being co-constructed by actors (although Uhl-Bien mobilizes a leader-followers binary), something that to be understood requires attention to relations.

If the social world is relational, to which there is at scale multi-disciplinary support, then it cannot be understood from an individualist point of view nor a collective perspective (or holism). After all, both the individualist and holist assume stability of the object – a scalable equivalence. It is however difficult to define, once and for all, relations. Donati (2015) contends that society does not have relations but is relations, therefore, relations are the very stuff of what we call ‘the social’ and the basic unit of analysis for the social sciences. But in moving beyond the substantialist or entity-based approaches, relations need to be thought of as not a thing. They are at once, the process of and emergent from, action. This requires conceiving of the object of scholarship in new ways. Privileged within such a perspective are the abstract systems of distance played out in action and the unfolding description of practice. But as Savage (2009) argues, this form of description is not about causality per se, rather the relating of actions to other actions. The task of the scholar is not to define ‘fields’ in any universal terms (as is often done with the appropriation of Bourdieu), but to observe and describe actions as they are, with all their complexity and diversity. This requires the mobilization of methodological resources facilitating the inscription of actions in particular spatio-temporal conditions. The inscribing of action is fundamental to avoiding the errors of essentialism, substantialism and/or reductionism.

Depelteau (2015) contends that relational approaches are only useful if they can propose new solutions to fundamental issues when compared with existing theorizations. In other words, if relational approaches do not generate some form of intellectual turmoil for organizational scholars then they offer little more than noise.

We invite proposals that critically question the construction and role of relations, relationships or relational approaches in the scholarship of organizations. This can include, but not exclusively, the construction of the research object, the explanatory power or descriptive value of relations/relationships, or the centrality of relationships to organizations. If relational approaches are at the cutting edge of contemporary thought and analysis, how can we theorize and understand relationships and relations in the organizing of social groups and institutions?

We further intend for our theme to raise searching questions about just what counts as relations / relationships in the first place. We encourage proposals that query, for example, substantialist or relational approaches. We invite discussions about the scholarly value of relational approaches. And we remain open to proposals that offer innovative insights or critiques of relational approaches.

Submission details
Abstracts of up to 400 words are due by 5:00pm 26 February 2016. Working papers for the accepted abstracts of 3,000-6,000 words are due by 03 June 2016 and will be distributed to registered participants prior to the Workshop to enable pre-reading and meaningful engagement with ideas. For all enquiries and abstract submission please email Dr Scott Eacott (

Workshop Overview
This Educational Policy and Leadership Research Group and Office of Educational Leadership sponsored Workshop is designed to facilitate high quality interdisciplinary scholarship advancing understanding of organizations and organizing with particular reference to educational institutions. Its primary aim is to advance cutting-edge theoretical and methodological insights by bringing together a small and competitively selected group of scholars, who will have the opportunity to interact in-depth with ‘working papers’ and share insights in a stimulating and supportive environment.

Key Dates
Call for papers 28 Nov 2015
Abstracts close 26 Feb 2016
Notification of acceptance 18 Mar 2016
Registration opens 18 Mar 2016
Full papers due 03 June 2016
Distribution of papers 17 June 2016
Workshop begins 14 July 2016

This Workshop will take place in the John Goodsell Building at the University of New South Wales. UNSW is located in Sydney, one of the most breathtakingly beautiful cities in the world. Our campus is within easy reach of world-famous beaches and iconic landmarks, as well as the buzzing centre. The campus is easily accessible via public transport.

There is no registration cost, but this does not include travel or accommodation for speakers or participants. Numbers are limited to 20 places due to room capacity and the explicit expectation of purposeful dialogue around ideas. It is expected that all registered participants attend for the full two days and commit to reading the papers prior to attending.

To download the flyer click here or view via here.

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Hedley Beare Award 2015

Last week I was fortunate enough to be awarded the Hedley Beare Award for Educational Writing by the Australian Council for Educational Leaders.  Previous winners include John Hattie, Viviane Robinson, Peter Ribbins, Pat Duignan, Frank Crowther, Neil Cranston, Neil Dempster, Paul Brock. One thing that does stand out is that since the award’s inception in 2002, only once has it be won by a woman (Chris Cawsey – 2009), who incidentally was the person who read my citation at the ceremony.

The official citation read:

Dr Scott Eacott is a generous and active contributor to ACEL in his writing, use of social media and commitment to extending the debate about educational leadership. His most recent book, Educational leadership Relationally (Sense, 2015), is arguably the most ambitious research agenda in educational leadership, management and administration coming out of Australia in recent years. His work provides important insights into understanding social relations for theorising educational leadership, management and administration.
According to other academics, Scott’s work is a welcome departure from rational approaches that oversimplify the practice and theorising of leadership in and for schools. By reframing the unit of analysis away from individual leaders to focus instead on their relationships, is extremely helpful in moving the research on educational leadership forward.
Blending sociology, historical revisionism, managerial theories and general philosophy, Scott provides an innovative approach to the analysis of the work of educational leaders. Proposing a new set of ideas, namely a relational turn, his work represents an alternate theoretical resource that is persuasive for engaging with the messiness of contemporary schooling.
The ideas Scott has offered in Educational Leadership Relationally have been published extensively and have achieved national and international reach. His ideas have been debated in a Special Issue of Journal of Educational Administration and Foundations by academics from six other countries and they have also been used by other researchers studying in areas as diverse as research methods, school accountability, teacher education and school autonomy.  
Educational Leadership Relationally is a challenging text for those thinking about the leadership of educational organisations and his contributions to ACEL debates always make us think. This is consistent with the work of Hedley Beare and makes Scott a worthy recipient of the award named in Hedley Beare’s honour.


I am very humbled to be recognized by my peers for my work.

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#acelconf15 – day three

Day Three marked the final day of #acelconf15. For many this was to be the highlight of the conference with the two big names (Andy Hargreaves and Michael Fullan) presenting. For me, it did not live up to the hype.

The student performances were outstanding everyday, but I was especially impressed on day three. I may be showing my Newcastle bias as two of the three came from Hunter School of Performing Arts though.

The opening keynote of the day was Andy Hargreaves. He delivered as expected. A slick and engaging presentation (based on the reactions of the people around me and the twitter stream) based on his books (which were adequately promoted) and supported by his work with other keynote presenters (which were mentioned often). For me, as a researcher, I found the work under developed and some of the contradictions in the arguments – namely schools are about more than literacy and numeracy measures, so we need to develop more measures for the things we want; and the critique of using PISA results to assess success yet then using PISA results to show what reforms work and what do not – not recognised. In such cases, Hargreaves falls into the textual apologist camp and despite the aspirational tone, the argument remains about playing the current game better than serious challenging the rules of the game and its formula for success.

At the conclusion of Hargreaves keynote a number of people raced to the door. This amazed me given that the next speaker was Jenny Shipley – the first female Prime Minister of New Zealand. While I found her argument essentialised gender (e.g. females do this, males do that), she raised some very interesting points about gender and leadership that require engagement.

Following morning tea was the final breakout session of the conference. I attended one focused on the impact of accountabilities on school leaders. I had a feeling it was going to be touch and go when the abstract claimed ‘the impact of such requirements [accountability] has received little attention in the literature’. After all, I have been researching and reading in educational leadership for almost 15 years and would say this is a major stream in educational leadership, parallel fields such as education policy, sociology of education, and broader fields such as management, public administration and organisation studies.

What was presented was a simple reporting of interviews with principals about how stressful and the impact of accountabilities on their time and practice. There was no analysis, no theoretical framing, and very little that could be offered from the data as no real work went into the conceptualisation of the project. I will admit to becoming ‘that guy’ and asking what contribution the presenter felt the work made. His response, ‘I have not had time to think about it’. Although he did say he used it in his teaching. I further inquired as to what exactly he was using given the lack of analysis, and he simply presents the findings to his students. Very disappointing in my opinion.

The final session of #acelconf15 was the William Walker Oration. As a student of educational leadership, I hold this as a very serious address that recognises one of the founding figures of the field in Australia (and the Commonwealth). This year it was presented by Michael Fullan. As with Hargreaves, he presented a slick and well paced address that was well received by the audience. Keeping with the trend of #acelconf15 keynotes (at least the education based ones), there was plenty of citing his own books, and work with fellow keynotes.

As a Bourdieusian inspired scholar, I find the use of ‘capital’ frustrating in popular educational leadership rhetoric. These terms have rich theoretical histories (note the plural) yet are used without any reference to that.

Personally, I found the insular nature of the keynotes at #acelconf15 sickening. The constant referencing to each other (in some cases giving the impression they were a package deal rather than stand alone – even if coherent – set of addresses), promotion of books and back slapping was problematic. had the cross referencing been analytical and advancing arguments, I could have handled that, but this was not the case.

If innovation is what we desire – a consistent theme across the addresses – then that is achieved not by listening to more of the same voices, but through different and potentially new voices. It is tough to critique the policy borrowing from afar when all the keynotes come from overseas. Where were the Australian education keynotes? Where were the critical voices?

Jim Watterson arguably addressed this with his dismissal of researcher in favour of those who had done it before. The privileging of the pragmatic over the scholarly – of course that simply reinforces the rather unproductive theory v practice division.

Overall, I am uncertain how I feel about #acelconf15. In many ways, it was a great three days. I met up with many people I do not see regularly – or only through twitter. I would have liked a greater diversity in the keynotes and more breakout sessions (or less running parallel). I hope future events strike a better balance between research and practice and seek to bring academics (especially those in Australia) into contact and conversation with the many school leaders (current and aspiring) who attend the event.

That said, the event ran smoothly – apart from the crowded nature of some rooms – and the ACEL team is to be applauded for their efforts.


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#acelconf15 – day two

Day two was the biggest day at #acelconf15 – five keynote / plenary sessions, two breakout sessions and then the national awards.

The day kicked off with more outstanding student performances. This is a great tradition at the ACEL conference.

Yong Zhao presented the first keynote of the day. An entertaining and humorous account of educational change. Interestingly, he had 145 slides for his one hour lecture (fortunately he just skipped through to important ones). His argument was around individualising education and the errors of testing/ranking. The keynote appeared (based on twitter and audience reaction) to have traction with the crowd. For me though, as it lacked any explicit practical take-aways (a highly desired outcome at this conference) or any real depth of analysis (as least from an academic’s standpoint), apart from making people feel good and inspired, I do wonder what people will make of it after the conference? Although he did spend some time promoting his books, so maybe those who bought copies will take up the ideas more.

A student panel followed and it was fascinating to hear the voices of these high achieving students and what they had to offer in relation to schooling. As a group they were articulate, measured in their thoughts, and incredibly human. The pressures of performing (in tests), the defaulting to subject rank when asked about their favourite subjects, and the linking of subject choice to post-secondary options were all reminders of the subtle ways in which education is experienced.

As pointed out by a few people though, it would be interesting to hear from students who were (by some measures) less successful in schooling and to ask what works and does not.

The second back-to-back keynotes were delivered by Ian Williamson (Melb Business School) and Jan Robertson.

Ian continued the entrepreneurial theme and the pursuit of innovation. Another engaging presentation and a number of very real examples drawn from Chicago. As an aside, it is interesting how many educators continue to argue that schools are not businesses yet we desire to make our schools innovative, entrepreneurial, and many other business topics / fads.

Jan Robertson delivered what was arguably the first (and only) scholarly keynote of the conference. There was a depth to her thinking and argument that required you to listen to her. No flashy slides, buzzwords, or catchy/tweetable quotes (by this I mean the easily tweeted and shared quotes). This was a solid argument that warranted attention around the moral courage of educating. While I am not sure it was appreciated by all in the crowd the message was a powerful one and should remain in participants minds long after the catchy phrases and slick presentations have faded from memory.

During the breakout session I attended two (yes, did not skip any today). The first was by Phil Lewis on the experiences of novice principals, and the second by a team from UoMelb and AITSL looking at how school leaders can drive the implementation of the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers (APST).

The Lewis session drew heavily from his masters thesis and gave insights into the early experiences of principals. There is a lot to done in this space. The challenge (not just for Lewis) is to think through what it means to be prepared, to decouple that from first time nerves, and to break away from a strictly developmental way of thinking about career development. Experience does not equal expertise.

Standards are all the rage currently and the session on the APST standards was looking at effective strategies to implement them in schools. I am cautious of standards and the way they are used – particularly when coupled with the effect size / impact agenda. While I appreciate the potential they have I am troubled by the idea that effective implementation is seen as synonymous with being embedded in all aspects of schooling and teacher performance. There is a whole performativity that is being overlooked in the process.

Cathy Freeman was the final plenary session of the day. Unlike the slick keynotes that dominate this conference, she was incredibly human – vulnerable, fidgety, and natural in her discussion with MC Tony MacKay and audience questions. Reliving the final from the 2000 Olympics brings back many great memories for Australians, and despite years of attention, Cathy’s presence remains so incredibly human. The work that she is doing through the Cathy Freeman Foundation is also outstanding.

The day wrapped up with the national awards event. This was a lovely evening recognising the work of many educators and providing the opportunity to meet, share and discuss all sorts of matters. I was honoured to be awarded the Hedley Beare award for educational writing, but more honoured to meet and chat with a number of the new voice scholarship winners. Apart from making me feel a little bit old, it is inspiring to hear about the work of others.

Looking forward to day three of #acelconf15

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#acelconf15 – day one

This week I am attending the annual conference of the Australian Council for Educational Leaders (#acelconf15). It is my first back at the conference since 2012 so I thought I would reflect on my experiences across the days.

As is always the case at ACEL conferences, day one started with exceptional performances by outstanding students. While the nation is often captivated by The Voice, X Factor and the like,  these high schools students have incredible talent and it is always nice to have a conference essentially focused on school leadership begin with students.

After the formalities, Mark Donaldson (Victoria Cross for Australia recipient) was the first keynote. His tale of courage and commitment in battle was on theme, and a very engaging address. There is an interesting discomfort for some around an address at an educational conference coming from someone who as discussing killing people (although Mark did well to use alternate language – I thinking my favourite was ‘removing’).

The second keynote of the day (and there were four) was from Robert Marzano. I need to declare that I am somewhat old-school and do not find a skype keynote very engaging. But I understand this is the way the world is going. Marzano did a nice job of presenting his work on ‘high reliability schools’ and he truly believes in what he is doing.

Alma Harris was next up and provided the human side of giving a keynote. She was engaging, very personable and brought energy back to the room. Her message regarding the importance of context was received – and somewhat contrary to the universalism of high reliability schooling of the previous.

Breakout sessions were next. I was lucky to have a rather full room (thanks for those who attended). My comment regarding the breakouts is that it might have been useful to have shorter breaks (and shorter sessions – 45mins instead of an hour) to allow for less sessions in competition. There are only five (by two) breakout sessions across the entire conference and each one has 10-12 parallel. It would be nice to get to see more sessions.

Bruce Robinson (the president’s pick) was the final keynote of the day and his work on the fathers project was well received. A cocktail event concluded day one and hopefully there will not be too many sore heads at we embark on day two.

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Working on the margins

This week I received positive feedback, well for the most part, on a book proposal. While not a contract just yet, I will keep you posted as that develops. What is more interesting, at least for now, is the less than positive feedback.

Some comments in particular struck a chord with me. First is this one:

… this is not a mainstream view in educational leadership, and there does not seem to be much care taken to connect with more robust and empirically based views of educational leadership.

There is much to be made of this, but I am going to focus on two parts: i) that the view is not mainstream; and ii) more robust and empirically based views.

In principle, I agree that my position sits outside the mainstream of educational leadership (management and administration – but more on that later) scholarship. Jane Wilkinson and I have written about this previously, and to be completely honest, I am glad I am not a ‘mainstream’ scholar. After all, the field has been critiqued for over 50 years for lacking rigor and robustness. Not to mentioned its failure to deliver on its promise. But the bigger question is whether there is anything wrong with sitting outside the mainstream? If anything, mainstream scholarship in educational leadership focuses on individuals and groups that sit outside the mainstream so interesting that as a field we ‘other’ those who do such.

The idea that mainstream scholarship is more robust and empirical based is intriguing. As noted above, an enduring critique of educational leadership research is its lack of rigor. As I have argued previously, and located within a lengthy line of inquiry, ‘leadership’ is very much a methodological artefact. It is whatever the observer wants it to be. Irrespective of the sophistication of the methods employed, the lack of rigor in establishing the research object is rarely acknowledged yet alone engaged with in mainstream research.

Additionally, this caught my eye:

… reverting to the dated term of administration is an interesting idea. Scott needs to separate the ideas of administration, management and leadership, and largely the research world has moved away from the idea of administration.

Similar to the above, the demonizing of ‘administration’ and the belief that it is a part of the past – the history of the field – is central to my argument. While mainstream research may have moved away from administration (although tell that to the fields of public administration and administrative sciences), the distinctions between administration, management and leadership frequently, if not always, reflect little more than the pre-existing orientation of the observer.

The divisions between the mainstream and the margins in educational leadership have arguably never been wider. Publication in mainstream journals and outlets is increasingly difficult when reviewers of all forms reject anything that does not conform to their version of what is educational leadership. How do we engage with these challenges and engage with them becomes a challenge for all current and aspiring scholars and thinkers in the area.

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The power of where you work

In July I relocated to the University of New South Wales to take up a position as Director of the Office of Educational Leadership (the website is a work in progress, so feel free to keep checking back on us) in the School of Education. Not surprisingly, as with move, it has been a disruptive time as I settled into a new working environment, prepared and taught new courses, sought to continue research trajectory and dealt with the supervisory joys of students still at other institutions.

As the dust has settled and I am beginning to feel on top of things what has been most interesting has been the power of affiliation. This is not surprising as I knew moving to a Group of Eight – research intensive university – would have any perks. Most notably is the esteem and prestige that comes with an internationally recognized brand – number 46 in the world according to the latest QS rankings. In addition, it also leads to more opportunities.

Since announcing my move, I have had opportunities to give systemic and regional keynotes, talks to schools, sit on grant evaluation committees, editorships of  journals, contribute to edited book series, examine theses, contribute to The Conversation, get interviewed on ABC radio, and present workshops at other universities. And these are just the ones I can recall quickly.

Has my work changed? No. Have I changed? I do not think so (although being so soon I guess the jury is still out). The question this begs is to what extent are opportunities the product of affiliation as opposed to the quality of work?

I am not so naïve to think that affiliation does not impact on opportunities. After all, I have read sufficient Bourdieusian work to understand reproduction. What it does though is raise a question as to what extent are we aware of our own bias?

In what ways do we confront our own bias when we engage with, or more importantly do not, with work? How do we find academics to work with? What journals and books do we engage with and why? There are many reasons why we make the decisions we do. What I am asking is to what extent are we aware of our reasons?

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Problematizing authenticity

In the past two years I have been consistently faced with ‘authenticity’ as an adjective of choice. Authentic leadership, authentic learning, and a general pursuit of authenticity.

This is not to take away from scholars working in the space. Academics such as Paul Begley, Chris Branson and many others among the UCEA Center for the Study of Leadership and Ethics are at the forefront of a particular stream within this space.  Although for an interesting critique of this collective, and their recent Handbook of Ethical Educational Leadership, see Terry Wrigley’s book review.

That said, I have been left with a sense of wonder as to how useful, as an intellectual resource, ‘authentic’ is when confronted with contestation.

During a recent class I taught for ‘Leading authentic learning’ [you can see the class syllabus here], I asked the question:

What does ‘authenticity’ offer us when we are confronted with conflict?

As I began to think this through, on the back of a recent differing of opinion, I came to a series of potential outcomes of conflict between individuals.

  1. To resolve the conflict, you are able to convince the other party of your (authentic) version of reality. In this case, the other person comes to adopt your way of thinking (a win of sorts, but see point two).
  2. The opposite of the above. You are persuaded by the other to adopt their way of thinking. However, this is problematic. In compromising, you are no longer being authentic to your way of thinking. Therefore, are you being inauthentic? The questioning being, can you be authentic if you change positions? A key question comes down to what your version of authentic is.
  3. A third option is that you concede that the conflict cannot be resolved – as neither party will compromise – and you simply describe the matter away as a differing set of worldviews. This is quite common, especially in the critique of neo-liberalism / managerialism and personal values.
  4. A possible fourth option is that both parties shift somewhat and create a new position that sits in-between the two original ones. This means both parties compromise to an extent and create a new option. Again, this comes down to what one means when they say authentic.

This is of course simply a thinking through of some, not all, matters. However, despite its popularity in some circles, I am not convinced that as an intellectual resource authenticity actually enables us to do meaningful work. It is fine for illuminating conflict, but I am not convinced it can assist us to think through, and beyond, conflict. In doing so, irrespective of any value in the construct for illuminating matters of the self, when it comes to dealing with matters of contestation – those which fill much of organisational life – it is rather limited.

As I continue to think this through, I am interested in any thoughts you might have.

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Thinking with Bourdieu’s notion of the firm

The work of Pierre Bourdieu is regularly used in the scholarship of educational leadership, management and administration. Frequently this involves the use of the key concepts of fields, capital and habitus. Bourdieu does however offer many more intellectual resources for thinking through the organisation and administration of educational institutions.

In a recent paper – Administration, policy and education: mobilising the firm – published in the Journal of Educational Administration and Foundations, I examine the question of whether the social theory of Bourdieu can be mobilised to understand the contemporary relationship between administration and policy.

Although this may seem like an odd question to pose given the frequency of use of Bourdieusian thinking in education policy and administration. However, I argue that some of the most potential in Bourdieu’s work may not lie in the usual places. In particular, I contend that it is in Bourdieu’s writing on the social structures of the economy, and especially the conceptualisation of the firm.

My argument is that the contemporary policy conditions have blurred the boundaries of traditional institutions and shifted previous relations between the state and education. The institution that is ‘education’ owes a number of its most distinctive properties to the set of relations it holds with other institutions and society at large.

These relations are not static, but rather, complex and ambiguous. This makes it impossible to represent them in neat frameworks. What is required is a sophisticated discussion of the situatedness of the social space, grounded in temporality. Bourdieu’s concept of the firm provides this.

To read the paper in full (it is open access) – click here.

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More publications with students

Continuing a productive start to the year, doctoral candidate Gladys Asuga (UoNewcastle) has a paper appearing in the latest International Journal of Educational Management.

In School leadership preparation and development in Kenya, Gladys, in combination with Jill Scevak (UoNewcastle) and myself, continues her analysis of the programs available to Kenyan school leaders through universities and other leading institutions.

While there is growth in provision, consistent with international trends, this provision is more recognised for its standardisation than points of distinction; there is minimal attention to identified dimensions of leadership leading to higher student outcomes which raises questions regarding the universality of school leadership preparation and development curriculum; and the high course costs of current provision is an inhibiting factor in assessing the return of investment in school leadership preparation and development.

The analysis of educational leadership preparation and development in Kenya will continue in future papers where the utility of content will be questioned which will then reframe an analysis of the literatures emerging from African based research.

This work continues to build on papers already published in Educational Management, Administration and Leadership (EMAL) and International Journal of Educational Administration and Policy Studies (IJEAPS). There is also another paper not far off, and two more soon to be submitted. A very productive project.

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