A Historical Analysis of an Academic Field
Chapter Two: The foundation and development of EA as a field of study 29
29 Chapter Two: The foundation and development of EA as a field of study Since the foundation of the field of EA as an academic field of study some of its scholars have been concerned with its philosophical and historical foundations (e.g., Callahan, 1962; Culbertson, 1988; Donmoyer, 1999; Murphy & Forsyth, 1999) and have sought to understand the theoretical and practical nature of the field (e.g., Boyan, 1981; Heck, 2006; Ribbins, 2006). From these scholarly ac- counts we learned that the field’s history is replete with intellectual struggles and ferments as well as reflections on its nature, methodologies, purposes, bounda- ries and knowledge base. Some scholars throughout the history of the field re- viewed its knowledge base to obtain an overview of the dominant concerns and trends within the field using textbooks, curricula, course syllabi, proceedings of international conferences, doctoral dissertations and journal articles (e.g., Fitz, 1999; Haller & Knapp, 1985; Oplatka, 2007, 2008; Swafford, 1990). Yet the essence of EA as a field of study needs further clarification, as the words educational administration do not accurately indicate what kind of inquiry one should assess, as Erickson (1979) noted many years ago. Basically, EA is considered to be a field of study concerned with the management and operation of educational organisations (Bush, 1999). However, given the limited history of the field and its confused parentage, it is hard to reveal a plain, transparent defi- nition of EA, as West-Burnham (1999), explains: The definition of EA is made more complex by semantic ambiguity...
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