Latest News

Register Now: 'School and Principal Autonomy: resisting, not manufacturing the neoliberal subject'


Date: Wednesday 10th May 2017
Venue: University of Nottingham
Time: 13:00 - 14:30

Deadline for registration: Friday 5 May 2017

This meeting of the Critical Educational Policy and Leadership Studies (CEPALS) Research Interest Group will be led by Dr Richard Niesche, Senior Lecturer, The University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia. His paper abstract follows:

'School and principal autonomy: resisting, not manufacturing the neoliberal subject'

Issues of school autonomy and in particular, principal autonomy have in recent years been given much attention in education policy and politics throughout a number of western countries. While a number of school principals/headteachers have shown a desire for more autonomy in decision-making, they have often been unprepared for the work intensification, managerialism and accountability measures that have accompanied this changing role. These tasks have typically come at the expense of more educational focused leadership responsibilities and have resulted in a peculiar mix of autonomy discourse at work alongside increased forms of accountability, audit and performativity. 

In this paper, I wish to highlight the importance of the construction of a form of subjectivity that, as a part of these recent neoliberal rationalities of government, is important for the shifting nature of the school principal/head as a particular type of subject, an entrepreneurial subject. Within this analysis, I draw upon Foucault’s notion of discourse and governmentality to argue that neoliberalism is not simply a repressive hegemonic ideology in terms of institutions and rights but is also productive in terms of social relations and subjects. By understanding the nature of changing subjectivities of school principals/heads, it can become possible to identify ways that school principals are constrained but also identify the spaces that may enable them to resist these regimes in favour of more socially just practices.

Attendance at this event is free and refreshments will be provided.

Register Now


Industry Twitter