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
What is in common to Mediterranean Welfare systems is the deep centralisation of the State and its apparatuses, well rooted in the Napoleonic tradition of the Administrative State. In particular, the French bureaucratic elite is seen as a compact embodiment of the public interest and of the laity of the State and that has implied a model also for the head teachers. A relevant diversity with the other southern European States is, then, represented by the French historical continuity of the National State and identity and the well-rooted democratic values. The Italian and even more recently the Spanish, the Portuguese and Greek States, in fact, witness immature formation of their national identity and democracy, having been subjected to fascist dictatorship. These States, modelled under straight rules of centralisation, have tried to grasp with the loyalty of bureaucracy and of professionals such heads. Also the educational systems are strongly centralized – with a sort of troubled exception for Catalonia in Spain – and heads’ roles are designed as ratchets in a hierarchical chain with the Ministries at the top. Only recently, – and in Spain, Portugal and Greece after democratic revolutions – these systems have become to change in favour of a softer decentralisation for the autonomy of the schools. Furthermore such trajectories have been, more or less, slightly touched since twenty years at least by NPM winds of fashion and neo-liberist or Third-way like pressures with centre-right governments. Head teachers then have been subjected to processes of re-designing and formation of their roles in a very hybrid manner: mixing weak bureaucratic traditions with apparently urgent needs of managerialisation, questioning some experienced trials of democratic participation (e.g., the election of heads in Portugal and Catalonia or the elected governance bodies in Italy) and above all weakening their educational guidance and stressing their ‘new’ accountable roles.
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