Ranting, raving and complaining: reflections on speaking outside the orthodoxy

Year: 2017

Author: Eacott, Scott

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Educational leadership literatures are quite happy to sell the virtues of "difficult conversations". However, well-rehearsed arguments stress that as a field of study, educational leadership has a long history of ignoring different perspectives - and that is to overlook the ahistorical accounts that dominate the field.

In doing so, the logic of academic work - argument and refutation - is replaced with insular, self-supporting, sympathetic readers. Any sense of rigor and robustness is replaces with volume and scale of supporting voices. Any engagement with alternate perspectives is reduced to dismissal on the basis of being different rather than any significant intellectual engagement.

This paper finds stimulus in a recent experience promoting a publication, an editor twitter intervention, a complaint to my employer on the basis of my "emotive diatribe" and that my paper contains "damaging statements for my institution", and subsequent politicking. Bringing together my work on social epistemology and parallel monologues, I offer a relational analysis of the difficulties of working outside the orthodoxy.