Below is a list of foundational books for the relational research program.
Eacott, S. (2018). Beyond leadership: A relational approach to organizational theory in education. Springer.
This book systematically elaborates Scott Eacott’s “relational” approach to organizational theory in education. Contributing to the relational trend in the social sciences, it first surveys relational scholarship across disciplines before providing a nuanced articulation of the relational research program and key concepts such as organizing activity, auctors, and spatio-temporal conditions. It also includes critical commentaries on the program from key figures such as Tony Bush, Megan Crawford, Fenwick English, Helen Gunter, Izhar Oplatka, Augusto Riveros, and Dawn Wallin. As such, the text models an approach to, or social epistemology for building knowledge claims in relation rather than through parallel monologues.
Eacott’s relational approach provides a distinctive, post-Bourdieusian variant of the relational sociological project. Shifting the focus of inquiry from entities (e.g., leaders, organizations) to organizing activity and recognizing how auctors generate – simultaneously emerging from and constitutive of – spatio-temporal conditions unsettles the orthodoxy of organizational theory in educational administration and leadership. By presenting its claims in the context of other approaches, the book stimulates intellectual debate among both relational sociologists and opponents of relational approaches.
Beyond Leadership provides significant insights into the organizing of education. As it does not fit neatly into any one field, but instead blends educational administration and leadership, organizational studies, and relational sociology, among others, it charts new territory and promotes important dialogue and debate.
Eacott, S. (2015). Educational leadership relationally: A theory and methodology for educational leadership. Sense. Recipient of the 2015 Hedley Beare Educational Leadership Writing Award from the Australian Council of Educational Leaders.
Educational leadership, management and administration has a rich history of epistemological and ontological dialogue and debate. However in recent times, at least since the publication of Colin Evers and Gabriele Lakomski’s trilogy – knowing, exploring and doing educational administration – there has been a distinct dearth. Educational Leadership Relationally explicitly returns matters of epistemology and ontology to the centre of the discussion. Through a sustained and rigorous engagement with contemporary thought and analysis, Scott Eacott articulates and defends a relational approach to scholarship in educational leadership, management and administration. Eacott belongs to a group of scholars in educational administration who could be called meta-sociologist. This group blends sociology, historical revisionism, managerial theories and general philosophy to emphasise the relevance of sociological analysis in the field of educational administration. Proposing a relational turn, Eacott outlines a methodological agenda for constructing an alternative approach to educational leadership, management and administration scholarship that might be persuasive beyond the critical frontier. The relational research programme is arguably the most ambitious agenda in educational leadership, management and administration coming out of Australia since Colin Evers and Gabriele Lakomski’s natural coherentism and Richard Bates’ Critical Theory of Educational Administration. As a research agenda, it engages with: the centrality of administration in constructions of the social world; the legitimation of popular labels such as ‘leadership’; the inexhaustible and inseparable grounding of administrative labour in time and space; and overcomes contemporary tensions of individualism/collectivism and structure/agency to provide a productive – rather than merely critical – space to theorise educational leadership, management and administration.
Eacott, S. (in preparation). Relational inquiry in social sciences. Springer.
This forthcoming title complements Beyond Leadership by providing a nuanced description of how to mobilise the relational approach in a thesis / dissertation and/or writing project. It will serve as a pedagogical text for those new to the relational approach and/or thinking about how the approach can shape inquiry.