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ERIC Number: EJ929575
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2003
Pages: 21
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 77
ISSN: ISSN-1360-3124
Theorizing Change in the Educational "Field": Re-Readings of "Student Participation" Projects
Thomson, Pat; Holdsworth, Roger
International Journal of Leadership in Education, v6 n4 p371-391 2003
There is a burgeoning literature on educational change--how to make it and how to understand its failures in order that the causes can be remedied next time. Much of this literature implies that when free and autonomous policy agents know what they are doing, they can shift institutional structures and habituated ways of doing and being. In this article we mobilize Bourdieu, who rejected this binary of structure and agency, in favour of the notion of "field", "habitus" and "capitals", to theorize one case of change. We describe the shifting policy-scape in Australia in the latter part of the twentieth century which created some opportunities for students to act as educational leaders and participate in making decisions about their learning and schooling. We then develop a specific and situated theorization of change in a contested and hierarchical educational "field". We argue that the continued press from the political field and the wider field of power to increase levels of mass schooling produced a "principal opposition" in the schooling field between democratization and hierarchization. This opposition, we propose, is now in policies, institutional changes and the varying actions of educators, making the field not only contested but also unstable: this produces further spaces and opportunities for both hierarchic and democratic changes. (Contains 7 notes and 3 figures.)
Routledge. Available from: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 325 Chestnut Street Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Fax: 215-625-2940; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education; Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Australia