ERIC Number: ED439485
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1999-Apr-19
Constructing Identity through Power and Discourse in Exemplary Women Superintendents.
This paper examines how some women successfully manage gender, power, and authority. It opens with a brief description of useful theoretical frameworks and the study design. These are followed by a section that presents and analyzes preliminary findings. The findings begin with a description of the political and personal context of the superintendency for two women superintendents. The paper focuses on the complex and fragmented constructions of identity, and their intersections with leadership in exemplary women superintendents, as manifest in the superintendents' resolutions of "border issues" inherent in crossing boundaries between the public and private spheres. Data were gathered by interviewing two exemplary women superintendents, their staffs, and other stakeholders in the education community. Information was also obtained through written records, field notes, drawings, journals, and theoretical memos. The findings show that both women adopted a professional discourse that indexed power and authority. The political and conflictive nature of the superintendency requires that those who assume the role adopt the socially expected norms of professional discourse that indexes the stereotypically masculine qualities of toughness, aggression, and coolness under pressure. Both women strategically deployed these constructions to exercise power and authority. (Contains 37 references.) (RJM)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (Montreal, Quebec, Canada, April 19-23, 1999).