Die verwerkliking van die neoliberale diskoerse in die leierskappraktyke van plattelandse skoolhoofde

Spies, Jacobus Johannes (2012-12)

Thesis (PhD)--Stellenbosch University, 2012.

Includes bibliography

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This study offers an analysis of the realization of the neoliberal discourses in the leadership practices of rural school headmasters. It is a Bourdieuian study of leadership in the rural context in relation to the influence of neoliberalism. The focus of this study is the manner in which neoliberalism manifests itself in the leadership practices of headmasters functioning within a specific geographical context, namely a rural village. The conceptual question therefore focuses on the endeavour made by the headmasters with the manifestation of the neoliberal discourses in the leadership practises of the headmasters in question. The point of reference of this study is that neoliberalism positions schools to function in a distinct way as the logic of the market, privatisation, deregulation and the individual's freedom of choice of school are manifested in the school as field. A further outcome of neoliberalism is that a particular leadership practice namely managerialism, use of data, efficiency, performativity and a focus on outcomes and achievements in the school is established in the field and proffered as norm. The discursive function of neoliberalism in the school as field has a direct impact on the leadership practices of headmasters as it effects a distinct logic of practice which endeavours to influence the headmaster’s leadership habitus in a certain way. Furthermore it tends to influence the headmasters reason to act directly in the form of policy changes and indirectly when proposed as the norm or standard of practice. In this study Bourdieu’s conceptual lenses of habitus, field, capital, strategy and practice are employed as comprehensive theoretical background and analytical lenses. The aim of this study is to understand what the neoliberal discourses entail, to interpret how they manifest themselves in the leadership practices of rural headmasters and to establish the consequences for the headmasters. The data was gathered by means of semi-structured one-on-one interviews during which each headmaster was granted the opportunity to contextualise in his own words, his experience of the effect that neoliberalism discourse has on his leadership practice in his particular rural school. The data of the twelve transcribed interviews (with the use of Atlas.ti computer programme) was coded by selecting segments of the primary documents to which codes were accordingly linked. By applying Bourdieu’s conceptual framework of habitus, field, capital and practice as “super codes”, the data was dealt with thematically and organised accordingly.This study offers an analysis of the realization of the neoliberal discourses in the leadership practices of rural school headmasters. It is a Bourdieuian study of leadership in the rural context in relation to the influence of neoliberalism. The focus of this study is the manner in which neoliberalism manifests itself in the leadership practices of headmasters functioning within a specific geographical context, namely a rural village. The conceptual question therefore focuses on the endeavour made by the headmasters with the manifestation of the neoliberal discourses in the leadership practises of the headmasters in question. The point of reference of this study is that neoliberalism positions schools to function in a distinct way as the logic of the market, privatisation, deregulation and the individual's freedom of choice of school are manifested in the school as field. A further outcome of neoliberalism is that a particular leadership practice namely managerialism, use of data, efficiency, performativity and a focus on outcomes and achievements in the school is established in the field and proffered as norm. The discursive function of neoliberalism in the school as field has a direct impact on the leadership practices of headmasters as it effects a distinct logic of practice which endeavours to influence the headmaster’s leadership habitus in a certain way. Furthermore it tends to influence the headmasters reason to act directly in the form of policy changes and indirectly when proposed as the norm or standard of practice. In this study Bourdieu’s conceptual lenses of habitus, field, capital, strategy and practice are employed as comprehensive theoretical background and analytical lenses. The aim of this study is to understand what the neoliberal discourses entail, to interpret how they manifest themselves in the leadership practices of rural headmasters and to establish the consequences for the headmasters. The data was gathered by means of semi-structured one-on-one interviews during which each headmaster was granted the opportunity to contextualise in his own words, his experience of the effect that neoliberalism discourse has on his leadership practice in his particular rural school. The data of the twelve transcribed interviews (with the use of Atlas.ti computer programme) was coded by selecting segments of the primary documents to which codes were accordingly linked. By applying Bourdieu’s conceptual framework of habitus, field, capital and practice as “super codes”, the data was dealt with thematically and organised accordingly. An analysis of the data revealed that the manifestation of neoliberalism results in the headmaster increasingly having to play a dual role namely that of manager plus that of professional educationist. The leadership skills or practises associated with those two roles are not always compatible. The latter places principals in a very difficult position where, on the one hand they are expected to act as Representative of the Department of Education (in which neoliberal ideas increasingly function), while on the other hand, as professional educationist, the logic behind these practices and its educational accountability may be questioned. Headmasters, however, despite the fact that neoliberalism seeks to enforce a uniform system upon them, respond in a unique, diverse manner to the manifestation of the neoliberal discourses in their leadership practices.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Hierdie studie bied ‘n analise van die verwerkliking van die neoliberale diskoerse in die leierskappraktyke van plattelandse skoolhoofde. Dit is ‘n Bourdieuaanse studie oor leierskap in die plattelandse konteks in verhouding tot die invloed van neoliberalisme. Die fokus van hierdie navorsing is die wyse waarop neoliberalisme verwerklik word in die leierskappraktyke van skoolhoofde wat werksaam is in ‘n spesifieke geografiese konteks, naamlik ‘n plattelandse dorp en die konseptuele vraag fokus daarom op watter bemoeienis hierdie skoolhoofde met die neoliberale diskoerse maak, deurdat dit verwerklik word in die leierskappraktyke van die betrokke skoolhoofde. Die uitgangspunt van hierdie studie is dat neoliberalisme skole posisioneer om op bepaalde wyses te funksioneer, soos wat die logika van die mark, privatisering, deregulering en die individu se vryheid van keuse in die skool as veld verwerklik word. Neoliberalisme het verder tot gevolg dat bepaalde tipe leierskappraktyke naamlik managerialisme, bestuur deur die gebruik van data, effektiwiteit, performatiwiteit en ‘n fokus op uitkomste en prestasie in die skool as veld gevestig word en as die norm voorgehou word. Die diskursiewe werking van neoliberalisme in die skool as veld het ‘n regstreekse inwerking op die leierskappraktyke van skoolhoofde deurdat dit tot gevolg het dat ‘n bepaalde logika van praktyke voorgehou word, wat poog om die skoolhoofde se leierskaphabitus op ‘n bepaalde wyse te kondisioneer. Dit poog verder om skoolhoofde se handeling en rede van doen regstreeks in die vorm van beleidsveranderinge en indirek, voorgehou as die norm van praktyke, te beïnvloed. In hierdie studie word Bourdieu se konseptuele lense van habitus, veld, kapitaal, strategie en praktyke as ‘n oorkoepelende teoretiese agtergrond en analitiese lense aangewend. Die doel van hierdie studie is om te verstaan wat die neoliberale diskoerse behels, te interpreteer hoe dit verwerklik word in die leierskappraktyke van plattelandse skoolhoofde en watter betekenis die skoolhoofde daaraan gee. Die data is versamel deur gebruik te maak van semigestruktureerde een-tot-een onderhoude, waartydens die skoolhoofde die geleentheid gebied is om in hulle eie woorde hulle skole te kontekstualiseer en hoe hulle beleef dat die neoliberale diskoerse in hul leierskappraktyke in die betrokke skole op die platteland verwerklik word. Die data van die twaalf getranskribeerde onderhoude is (met behulp van die rekenaarprogram Atlas.ti) gekodeer, deur tekssegmente in die primêre dokumente te selekteer en kodes daaraan te koppel. Deur Bourdieu se konseptuele raamwerk van habitus, veld, kapitaal en praktyke as ‘super kodes’ aan te wend, is die data op tematiese wyse benader en georganiseer. ‘n Analise van die data het aan die lig gebring dat die verwerkliking van neoliberalisme tot gevolg het dat skoolhoofde toenemend ‘n dubbele rol moet vertolk, naamlik die van bestuurder/bemarker en die van professionele opvoedkundige. Die leierskappraktyke verbonde aan hierdie twee verskillende rolle is nie altyd versoenbaar met mekaar nie. Laasgenoemde plaas skoolhoofde in ‘n baie moeilike posisie, waar daar aan die een kant van hulle verwag word om as verteenwoordiger van die onderwysdepartement die beleid van die Staat (waarin neoliberale idees toenemend fungeer) nougeset te implementeer, terwyl hulle aan die ander kant as professionele opvoedkundiges die logika daaragter en opvoedkundigverantwoordbaarheid daarvan kan bevraagteken. Skoolhoofde maak egter, ten spyte daarvan dat neoliberalisme poog om ‘n eenvormige sisteem op hulle af te dwing, op ‘n unieke, diverse wyse mee met die verwerkliking van die neoliberale diskoerse in hul leierskappraktyke.

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