Is it all a 'game'? Analysing academic leadership through a Bourdieuian practice lens

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Much contemporary educational research draws upon Bourdieuian concepts such as field and the metaphor of the game for its inspiration. Yet his theory of practice remains an under-explored concept in educational leadership. Perhaps this is because the preceding concepts are better equipped to perform the required conceptual labour compared to earlier Bourdieuian theories of practice. However, an alternative possibility is that the emphasis on field and the analogy of the game has obscured subaltern readings of leadership practice. This paper draws on Alan Warde s argument for a `reconfigured notion of Bourdieuian practice, based upon Alasdair MacIntyre s differentiation between the competitive logic of practice of a field and the cooperative logic of practice. Drawing on an autobiographical academic leadership story, the paper examines how an analysis of the characteristics of these overlapping but conceptually distinct logics of practice may expand understandings of academic leadership practice, and of practice per se.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)41 - 54
Number of pages14
JournalCritical Studies in Education
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2010

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