Educational administration, science, and the scholar: Problematising the intellectual gaze

Year: 2012

Author: Eacott, Scott

Type of paper: Abstract refereed


Educational administration can credit its genesis, and level of esteem, to the administration of schooling becoming a public concern. That is, once society, or at least enough people, began to see administration as a key leverage point for improving outcomes, there was demand for systematic inquiry. However, those who did the inquiring were frequently school systems, administrators, or, as the current profile of the academy suggests, academics who themselves are former administrators. In this paper I argue that this does particular things to the intellectual gaze of the scholar. Whereas epistemological debates raged in educational administration during the Theory Movement, or inspired by interventions from Thom Greenfield, Richard Bates, or Colin Evers and Gabriele Lakomski, epistemology, and the quest for a 'science' of educational administration has somewhat diminished in the era of managerialism and the pursuit of research that has a direct impact on practice. This paper explicitly contributes to a discussion on epistemology, and ontology, in educational administration. Importantly, rather than offer a fully articulated theory or research programme, I sketch areas of relevance and possible theoretical development that might serve to extend the current debates over the administration of educational institutions in new and more fruitful directions.