Foucault News

News and resources on French thinker Michel Foucault (1926-1984)

Done, E.J., Murphy, M., Knowler, H.
University-based professional learning for women teachers and the ‘to care’ or ‘to lead’ dilemma
(2016) Professional Development in Education, 42 (4), pp. 610-627.

DOI: 10.1080/19415257.2014.948690

The authors consider the recasting of teaching as leadership with reference to school principals or heads and claim that many women teachers decline such senior roles and instead prioritize an ethics of care in resistance to neoliberal performative educational cultures. A future-orientated poststructuralist version of authenticity or authentic practice derived from Deleuze and Guattari, Foucault and Grosz is introduced that does not risk reinforcing gender stereotypes and a consequent political marginalization of women teachers. Grosz mobilizes the concept of authentic futurity in relation to feminism, but the authors contend that this concept might usefully provide women teachers with a less potentially marginalizing lexicon of resistance, and facilitate localized initiatives informed by an affirmative poststructuralist ethics embracing contingency and relationality. Care is interpreted as supporting virtual potentialities and their actualization. The Deleuzo-Guattarian concepts of ‘becoming-woman’ and ‘becoming-imperceptible’ are explained in relation to ‘active listening’ as a leadership ‘skill’. The importance of university-based professional learning in addressing variations in professional capital and problematizing tired neoliberal discourses concerning leadership, teacher quality and ethics is emphasized throughout the paper. © 2014 International Professional Development Association (IPDA).

Author Keywords

feminist-poststructuralist ethics; leadership; professional learning

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