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The Legacy of Educational Administration

A Historical Analysis of an Academic Field

Izhar Oplatka

In light of attempts to trace the philosophical and historical foundations of educational administration as an academic field of study that is concerned with the management and operation of educational organisations, this book aims at reviewing important epistemological developments in this field since the early 1960s. Specifically, the author poses several questions, such as what counts as the field of educational administration and what is this field in each decade since the early 1960s? What is the knowledge base of educational administration? What is its unique identity? And what are the types of publications and the methodological tools used throughout the years by the field’s members? Based on a qualitative content analysis of the field’s various academic journals since the appearance of the first journal, the author identifies six legacies – empirical, practical, evaluative, training, ideological and critical that the field leaves behind in our time.

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Chapter Seven: The dynamics, identity and legacies of the field 169

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169 Chapter Seven: The dynamics, identity and legacies of the field When the intellectual history of the field of EA is exposed and illuminated, the need to understand its nature, content, profile and boundaries is still ahead. Thus, the concluding chapter aims at answering the questions posed in the introduction of this book, such as what comprises EA and what the core topics and types of work in the field are. In addition, it is my intention here to examine the legacies of the field arising from the field’s areas of knowledge production, as well as to suggest some plausible considerations about its unique scholarly identity. Some thoughts about the future of the field end this chapter. The dynamics of the field When we read the field’s papers, becoming familiar with a host of shifts in con- tents, authorship patterns, topics, paradigms and dominant streams of research, the intellectual vitality and development of the field are clearly seen. Thus, from a field whose members, coming from a similar demographic background (i.e., the USA), usually adhere to one conceptual framework (e.g., organisational theo- ry [Culbertson, 1988]), and prefer papers written by one author, the field has ex- panded to numerous countries, and become filled with many papers written by two, three, four and sometimes even more than five authors. From time to time, a group of international authors has contributed to the field’s knowledge produc- tion by conducting comparative international studies, a stark distinction from the field’s mode of knowledge production...

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