Curriculum work as educational leadership - paradoxes and theoretical foundations

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This article outlines the foundations of a critical but non-affirmative educational leadership theory. The adopted approach draws on a recognition-based tradition of education and Bildung. It is argued that every theory of educational leadership must deal with two fundamental questions as well as with their internal relations. These questions are, first, how institutional education is related to politics, economy and culture in a democratic society and, second, how leadership as a professional, moral practice is explained in terms of power and influence, that is, as an ethical and epistemological relation between individuals. On the first issue, this non-affirmative educational leadership theory accepts a non-hierarchical view of the relation between societal forms of practice, thus holding to a Western democratic tradition of citizenship and social transformation. Concerning the second problem, a non-affirmative position is adopted, according to which pure intersubjective or subject-centred (egological) approaches to explaining human intentional and cultural action and consciousness are considered insufficient. Rather, a specific version of relationism is advocated. In this theory, the classical pedagogical paradox takes a new form: educational leadership now means paradoxically to recognise the Other as if he or she was already capable of what he or she might become capable of through own activity – and to act accordingly.

Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)22–31
JournalNordic Journal of Studies in Educational Policy
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2015
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Educational leadership

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