Scott Eacott’s relational approach offers a distinctive variant of the relational sociology project. By not fitting neatly into any one field, the relational approach arguably charts new territory and promotes important dialogue and debate for understanding the organization of education.
Beginning in studies of educational leadership, the relational approach has since been mobilized to explore organising in the professions, consolidated schools, supplementary education, Indigenous epistemologies, and future focused learning, among others. It has been central to multiple successful grants, 45 publications, over 21 conference papers, 10 theses, and is taught in masters and doctoral programs in Australia and Canada.
Described by Kim (2018) as a sophisticated analytical lens for in-depth epistemological and methodological inquiry, Niesche (2018) as providing ‘great insights into thinking differently and productively’ (p. 153), and Wallin (2016) as of ‘interest because it attempts to deal with the messiness and complexity of social organizations’ (p. 32), the relational is however not without critique. It has been debated in special issues of the Journal of Educational Administration and Foundations (2016) and Research in Educational Administration and Leadership (forthcoming).