What are the possibilities of a post-masculinist institutional politics in an era of self-governance?

Year: 1994

Author: Blackmore, Jill

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

This paper considers the current paradox of women being positioned as the emotional managers/leaders of education systems increasingly oriented towards privatisation and marketisation-systems which emphasise individual choice over community. It also looks to consider the strategic possibilities of how women in leadership can work in different ways in the context of shifts towards self-governance and self-regulation in education, the merging of the global and the local, the changing nature of educational work, and emerging foci in management literature and practice (managing diversity, ethics of care, "post-modern", etc.). It considers how and what feminisms have largely contributed to feminist work in educational administration, why and with what effect. It also focuses upon how feminists must think strategically about their relationship with the State, men and each other, of how difference is conceptualised. It suggests that, for a post-masculinist politics to emerge, masculinity itself must first be made problematic.

The paper draws on three related ARC research projects which consider the positionality of women. The theoretical framework draws from recent post-structuralist work in educational feminist and organisational theory which utilises notions of discourse and culture, but which also strives for a sound materialist understanding of the conditions under which particular discourses come to be more powerful than others, e.g., Hennessey. It will address issues such as the possibilities for a post-masculinist politics (as framed by Anna Yeatman's and Wendy Brown's political analyses) in an era in which Equal Opportunity policy makers confront new relationships between the individual, the State and education.