and Ideology: A Critique
by Dimitrios Thanasoulas
does not see power as negative. Power is typically analysed
in a negative way, but a view of power based on Foucault is
not concerned with delimiting and proscribing activities so
much as converting the body into something both useful and
docile. In this way, it relates power to self-discipline.
It views structures and cultures as empowering the individuals
within them to carry out fruitful tasks on behalf of the collectivity.
A more critical reading of Foucault, however, may interpret
docility as restricting creativity and creating the conditions
hark back to school culture; Hargreaves, D. (1995) has proposed
a heuristic typology of school cultures in which he identifies
four "ideal types": the formal school culture characterised
by pressure on students to achieve learning goals but weak
social cohesion between staff and students; a welfarist culture
where relations between staff and students are friendly and
relaxed but there is little academic pressure; a hothouse
culture which pressurises staff and students to participate
in all aspects of school life, academic and social; and a
survivalist culture characterised by poor social relations
and low academic achievement. Nevertheless, irrespective of
the school culture, there are certain characteristics that
apply across the board. For instance, Schein (1985: 9) holds
that there are three levels to organisational culture: artifacts
(e.g. allocation of space, use of language) which can be easily
observed even if not easily understood; the values which individuals
say are held by members of the organisation, though these
may be espoused rather than practised; and the basic assumptions
that guide behaviour which are taken for granted and may be
brief discussion of the political processes underlying the
culture of schools has only skimmed the surface of the subject.
A more detailed analysis would touch upon a wide range of
topics, such as contemporary perspectives on school effectiveness
and school improvement, criticisms of theory and methodology,
characteristics of school improvement and school effectiveness,
strategies for promoting or resisting change in schools, and
others. What the present article suggests is that schools
as institutions are subject to a number of political processes
which, despite the clashes and synergies they may create,
shape and modify them ad infinitum. In this constant process
of shaping and reshaping of school practices, the role of
teachers and practitioners is deemed of utmost importance.
Only by gaining insights into the nature of the organisation
can its members fully understand how it functions and what
courses of action are legitimate. Metaphorically speaking,
a school is more like a living organism and just as one cannot
graft the leg of a cheetah onto an alsatian to make it run
faster, so one cannot graft one particular factor into a school
and expect it to make dramatic improvements (Bottery, 2001).
S. (1998). Notes on a political theory of educational organisations.
In A. Westoby (Ed.). Culture and Power in Organisations. Milton
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arber, M. (1998). The dark side of the moon: Imagining an
end to failure in urban education, in L. Stoll and K. Myers
(eds). No Quick Fixes. Perspectives on Schools in Difficulty.
London: Falmer Press.
Barker, B. and Busher, H. (1998). External contexts and internal
policies: a case study of school improvement in its socio-political
environment. Unpublished paper given at the British Educational
Research Association Annual Conference, Queens University,
Bottery, M. (2001). School Effectiveness, School Improvement
and the Teaching Profession of the Twenty-first Century. In
Harris, A. and Bennett, N. School Effectiveness and School
Improvement: Alternative Perspectives. London: Continuum.
Bourdieu, P. (1990). In Other Words: Essays Towards a Reflexive
Sociology, trans. M. Adamson, Cambridge: Polity Press in association
with Blackwells, Oxford.
Busher, H. (1992). The politics of working in secondary schools:
Some teachers' perspectives on their schools as organisations.
Unpublished PhD thesis, Leeds: School of Education, University
Busher, H. (2001). The micro-politics of change improvement
and effectiveness in schools. In Harris, A. and Bennett, N.
London: Continuum, p. 75.
Carr, W. (1993). Reconstructing the curriculum debate: an
editorial introduction. Curriculum Studies. 1(1): 5-6.
Clegg, S. R. (1989). Frameworks of Power. London: Sage.
Foucault, M. (1977). Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the
Prison. Harmondsworth: Peregrine.
Gramsci, A. (1971). Selections from the Prison Notebooks.
London: Lawrence and Wishart.
Hargreaves, D. (1995). School culture, school effectiveness
and school Improvement. School Effectiveness and Improvement.
Harris, A. and Bennett, N. (2001). School Effectiveness and
School Improvement: Alternative Perspectives. London: Continuum.
Lukes, S. (1974). Power: A Radical View. London: Macmillan.
Rutter, M., Maughan, B., Mortimore, P. and Ouston, J. (1977).
Fifteen Thousand Hours. Shepton Mallet: Open Books.
Sammons, P., Thomas, S. and Mortimore, P. (1997). Forging
Links: Effective Schools and Effective Departments. London:
Schein, E. (1985). Organizational Culture and Leadership.
Young, K. (1981). Discretion as an implementation problem:
a framework for Interpretation, in M. Adler and S. Asquith
(eds). Discretion and Welfare, pp. 33-46. London: Heinemann.
English Literature and Linguistics at Athens University
and then did an MA in Applied Linguistics at Sussex
University. After that, he earned an MBA from Mooreland
University and is currently finishing the second year
of my PhD studies in Education at Nottingham University.
His academic interests include fostering cultural awareness
and learner autonomy, as well as such issues as language
and ideology, Critical Discourse Analysis, Pragmatics,
Sociolinguistics, and the Psychology of Education.
can be contacted at:
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