Continuing a recent run of publications coming out, the papers from a forthcoming special issue of Educational Philosophy and Theory edited by myself and Colin Evers (UNSW) are now available as OnlineFirst.

This collection, which substantially builds upon a symposium at the 2012 Australian Association for Research in Education conference, includes papers from: Colin Evers and Gabriele Lakomski; Jane Wilkinson and Stephen Kemmis; Richard Niesche and Christina Gowlett; Paul Newton and Augusto Riveros; Jae Park; Stephanie Chitpin and Ken Jones; and myself.

The papers build upon the rich history of epistemological debate in educational leadership, management and administration. Despite this history of debate, including the Theory Movement, Greenfield’s intervention, Critical Theory through Bates and Forster, and natural coherentism from Evers and Lakomski, just to name a few, has in recent times such matters have been peripheral at best, and marginalised or ignored at worst.

In this special issue, we provide an elaborated and coherent discussion from fragmented discourses to deliver an innovative and provocative dialogue. Our coherence comes not from the adoption of a single theoretical lens (as is common in special issues), but rather in our engagement with epistemology, ontology and methodology. It is in the diversity of approaches taken by the contributors that as a collective we make a contribution to contemporary thought and analysis in educational leadership, management and administration theory.

Importantly, this special issue is not a critique of the field – something that is already frequent enough. Rather, our attention is devoted to sketching new possible alternatives for advancing scholarship. The choice of the plural ‘alternatives’ is deliberate and its use is to evoke the message that there is more than one way to advance knowledge. That being said, the approaches adopted across the papers we believe offer fruitful directions for the field and hopefully, will stimulate dialogue and debate in the interest of advancing knowledge.

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