23 SES 14 B JS, From Welfarism to Neo-Liberalism. Conceptualising The Diversity of Leadership Models in Europe.
Symposium Joint Session NW 23 with NW 26
This symposium seeks to capture the diversity and range of educational leadership in European contexts by reference to differences in prevailing policy contexts. In undertaking this task a range of leadership models, from the neo liberal and welfarist through to the administrative state, are identified through the development of a conceptual map that impinges on policy discourses (Ball, 1994) and governance models (Jessop, 2002) as main tools.
It is now well recognised that since the mid-1980s educational national systems in Europe have experienced determined processes of reform and restructuring. One of the paradoxical outcomes of these processes has been a convergence whereby more decentralised systems or decentralised aspects of systems have moved towards diverse forms of centralisation with the opposite direction taken by more centralised systems or more centralised aspects of those systems (Karlsen, 2000). This convergence has been accompanied both by a significant restriction in the role of those public aspects of educational provision in favour of private and privatising agendas, and by an associated modernisation of public bodies and institutions linked to New Public Management (Newman & Clarke, 2009).
Educational change associated with the above has been promoted by ideas travelling rapidly across and within national boundaries and the concomitant spread of policy borrowing (Ozga & Jones, 2006). This has been led by a supra-national environment of institutions and agencies including the EU, OECD, IFM and World Bank that have been increasingly influential in the field of education (Dale & Robertson 2009) together with the entrance of ‘non-educational actors’ into the educational policy arena (Ball and Junemann, 2012).
For educational professionals these developments have had significant consequences not least in demands to modify practices, competences and beliefs, reducing spaces of trust and discretional autonomy and introducing new forms of accountability (Cunningham, 2008). Head teachers have been singled out as one of the main ‘levers’ of change (Gunter, 2012) and consequently subject to rhetorical and discursive shifts linked to notions of educational leadership, management and entrepreneurialism that might enable reform and modernisation.
In order to characterise and examine similarities and distinctions between national contexts and their corresponding educational systems we have identified four main models: the Liberal State (mainly England in Europe); the Nordic Tradition (Scandinavian countries); the Continental Model (mainly Austria and Germany) and the Mediterranean Welfare (Spain, Italy and Portugal) inspired by the French system, as the ‘ideal’ Napoleonic Administration.
We have sought to avoid a simplistic reductionism in our analysis, reflecting an intention both to recognise historical and institutional legacies and path dependences and to elude causal assumptions between sets of independent and dependent variables.
First, we address the analysis in terms of policy discourses (Olssen & al., 2004): a) a welfarist discourse that foregrounds the ‘hopes’ of mass education in terms of social mobility and equity; b) a neoliberal discursive ‘reaction’ that, since the 1980s, has denounced the ‘failures’ of the welfarist educational project, asking for a step back by the State and the rethinking of education as a private good; c) a ‘Third-way’, introduced in Europe by New Labour in England in the late 1990s reflecting an attempt to temper the radical side of the neoliberal view. Secondly, in terms of governance, drawing from the analytic framework proposed by Newman (2001), we distinguish four frames of governance, derived from the intersection between two heuristic dimensions and/or continuums: centralization/decentralization and stability/change: 1) hierarchical; 2) rational goal; 3) open system model and 4) self-governance.
Through combining discourses and frames of governance we will consider the diversity of leadership models in Europe as assemblages derived by tensions and contradictions and producing hybrid subjectivities (Gunter, 2008; Thomson, 2009).
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