The policy discourse of networking and its effect on school autonomy: a Foucauldian interpretation
(2015) Journal of Educational Administration and History, 24 p. Article in Press.
Policy discourse officially operates to distinctly influence public perception in an irrevocable and normalising manner. In a Maltese educational scenario of gradual decentralisation and increased accountability, I explore the ‘effects’ of both the global and the local policy discourse of networks and networking on the practising leaders, in addition to their reaction to the policy document mandating these multi-site school collaboratives, with a particular interest on their imposed nature and how this reform impinged on individual school autonomy. This research adopts a case study methodology, with data collected through in-depth, semi-structured interviews; participant observation; and documentary analysis, interpreted via a Foucauldian theoretical framework through narrative analysis. The findings reveal an inherent tension among autonomy, centralisation, and decentralisation both within the policy discourse and the unfolding network leadership dynamics. This paper has particular philosophical implications for educational policy, practice, and theory in an educational scenario of school policy globalisation. © 2015 Taylor & Francis
(de)centralisation; accountability; autonomy; Foucault; policy discourse; school networks/collaboratives