19 SES 12 A, Ethnographic Research on Rural Education in a Metrocentric Europe. Different Processes of Spatial Inclusion and Exclusion. Part 2
Symposium continued from 19 SES 11 A
In presenting work on rural primary school leadership in England, we wish to echo the sentiment of Eacott (2010, p 226) that there is ‘a complex socio-cultural politics to school leadership that is context specific and multi-layered’. In this sense school leadership needs first and foremost to be acknowledged as a ‘social practice that transcends the domain of being an individual’s activity and can only be understood by getting up close to the culture of schooling and the social positioning of school leaders’. In policy terms rural schools in England have found themselves responding to education reforms since the mid-1970s that are the product of neo-liberal government educational reform with the role of the head teacher as school manager, discursively reformulated, recalibrated, and repositioned (Gunter, 2000). It is in the midst of these policy changes that the research seeks to explore in-depth how two primary school head teachers in contrasting rural settings interpret the complex multi-layered socio-economic, cultural and political contexts in which their schools are situated. The contention is that research must view ‘leadership theory critically and contextually’ (Addison, 2009, p. 327) if the complexities and contestations associated with contemporary rural primary headship are to be understood. To this end the research strives to move away from a normative reading of leadership, to one which acknowledges its temporal, complex and situated nature; placing the individual actor in local context whilst appreciating the simultaneous interplay of both micro and macro level forces in shaping practice (Eacott, 2010). The data are derived from a three-year ethnographic investigation in two contrasting English villages which for the purposes of this paper is based on a thematic analysis (Braun and Clarke, 2006) of 8 x1 hour (x2) interviews conducted with the head teachers in each rural setting. The research is conceptually informed by the work of Bourdieu (1984) and his work on field, habitus and capital as a means of understanding practice. The findings suggesting that as the neo-liberal economic field increasingly contaminates the field of education so a contextual understanding of the complex and shifting social space which the head teacher occupies, including their habitus and the capital they deploy, is of central importance to understanding practice.
Addison, B. (2009). A feel for the game – a Bourdieusian analysis of principal leadership: a study of Queensland secondary school principals. Journal of Educational Administration and History, 41(4), 327-341 Bourdieu, P. (1984). Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul. Braun. V., & Clarke, V. (2006) Using thematic analysis in psychology. Qualitative Research in Psychology 3(2), 77-101. Eacott S. (2010) Studying school leadership practice: A methodological discussion Issues in Educational Research, 20(3), 220-233 Gunter, H. J. (2000). Thinking theory: The field of education management in England and Wales. British Journal of Sociology of Education, 21(4), 622-635.
00. Central Events (Keynotes, EERA-Panel, EERJ Round Table, Invited Sessions)
Network 1. Continuing Professional Development: Learning for Individuals, Leaders, and Organisations
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