Lumby, Jacky and Foskett, Nick
Power, risk and utility – interpreting the landscape of culture in educational leadership
Education Administration Quarterly, 47, (3), . (doi:10.1177/0013161X11400187).
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Microsoft Word The_landscape_of_culture_in_schools__FS_FV.doc
Engagement with culture as a facet of the work of schools and colleges has been evident since at least the 1950s. Twenty first century interest in culture remains strong, in part because of the growing sense that education faces a scenario where the scale of technological, economic and social change is unprecedented. Such change demands revisiting cultural values, as practice and power relations are disturbed both by change itself and by an inability to assimilate it. The paper revisits a seminal question – how far should educational leaders engage with culture as a key theoretical construct and what are the moral and pragmatic issues which arise? The paper charts the engagement of the field of educational leadership with culture over time. It critically reviews some of the theoretical models that have been used as analytical and interpretative lenses, considers the scope of the evidence for the utility of the concept of culture, and then explores related implicit and explicit power relations embedded in school leaders’ engagement with culture. The paper concludes that a renewed and more rigorous but critical engagement with culture is essential both for theorising leadership and for developing the leaders of schools, colleges and universities in the future.
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