Educational leadership, management and administration (ELMA) as a field of study has a rich history of epistemological debate. The latest Educational Philosophy and Theory is a Special Issue edited by myself and Colin Evers (UNSW) that explicitly engages with the onto-epistemological principles of scholarship in the ELMA.
Recognising that debates are underway, but very much peripheral, this collection seeks to bring together a mix of scholars to raise important questions. Specifically, we aim to:

  • foreground the ontological/epistemological preliminaries of ELMA; and
  • sketch areas of relevance and possible theoretical/methodological developments that serve to extend current debates on the leadership, management and administration of education.

We interpreted these aims widely, consistent with our goal of promoting creativity and innovation. Importantly, we asked our contributors to respond to the following guiding questions:

  1. What are the theoretical/empirical problem/s from which ELMA are based?; and
  2. How can we engage them?

These questions, we believe, are vital as the field of ELMA faces increasing questions of its relevance and status with education – and as education itself faces increasing challenges from beyond. Our goal was not to bring a series of like-minded contributors together to outline the virtues of a particular position. Such an activity would do little more than provide legitimation for our existing theorisations. Instead, we sought to bring a diverse group of scholars together to engage in rigorous debate around our two guiding questions.

This is a significant move. Instead of pursuing a singular, stable and standardised knowledge base, we explicitly embrace the dynamism of contradictions, multiplicities and antinomies of a vibrant field of theories and practices.  We believe that the collection of papers delivers, but as always, in the spirit of the intellectual endeavour, interested in your thoughts. Check out the issue here.

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