• • •

Attempts at definitions Challenges to modernism Postmodern analytical approaches • genealogy and examples • de-construction and examples • Articles of faith

BEAUTIFUL, GREGARIOUS SWF, professor, 30, thin, living hermetically in NYC because she despises the Kierkegaardian “crowd”. Seeks classy, marriageable, Thoreau-like SWM, lusting for mind/body adventures, financially secure. Postmodernists, literary critics, political activists need not respond. Send letter/photo. NYR Box 7801. New York Review of Books August 13, 1998: 63


Runes-Dictionary of Philosophy 1984:336

•Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862) American transcendentalist, thoroughgoing individualist, most famous for the attempts to be self-sufficient. •“transcendentalism-any idealistic philosophy positing the immanence of the ideal or spiritual in sensuous experience. The philosophy of the Absolute, the doctrine of the immanence of the Absolute in the finite”


Literary critics

Political activists

•All use language provocatively to question the order of things and common, generally accepted interpretations and meanings of words •All view language and ideas as changeable, few, if any, absolute or “transcendent” ideas or meanings are assumed to exist

Developed from no single source: it is not a unified doctrine in the modernistic sense

postmodernism art architecture Literature & literary criticism linguistics


Cinema & photography

“The postmodern--a loose umbrella term under whose broad cover can be encompassed at one and the same time a condition, a set of practices, a cultural discourse, an attitude and a mode of analysis” [Lovlie 1992:120]

“..it is impossible to fully define the postmodern since the very attempt to do so confers upon it a status and identity which it must necessarily oppose…any attempt at definition must lead to a paradox since it is to totalize, to provide a single unified explanation of that which sets its face against totalization.” [Usher & Edwards 1996:7]

“must reject a description of itself as embodying a set of timeless ideals contrary to those of modernism; it must insist on being recognized as a set of viewpoints of a time, justifiable only within its own time.” [Nicholson 1990: 11]

“..incredulity towards metanarratives”
Jean-Francois Lyotard 1984: xxiv

“is not a term that designates a systematic theory or comprehensive philosophy. Neither does it refer to a ‘system’ of ideas or concepts in the conventional sense, nor is it the name denoting a unified social or cultural movement. All one can say is that it is complex and multiform, resisting reductive and simplistic explanation.” Usher and Edwards 1996: 7

•Initiated with the debate over qualitative/quantitative research specifically the work of Lincoln (1985); Lincoln and Guba in Naturalistic Inquiry (1985) •Was pre-staged by the critique of the critical theorists such as Bates (1980) and Foster (1986) and feminist critics such as Shakeshaft (1989)

Historical analyses that show scientific breakthroughs did not follow the scientific method or logic

Foundational claims that rest on non-empiricism or “faith”

Defined as “a conception of absolute truth founded on rationality” Usher & Edwards (1996: 24)


Reality is not the same everywhere to all peoples at the same time; it is culturally defined and contextually bordered Language is neither neutral nor commensurate, generalizations beyond context cannot hold; no context free generalizations Observation is always embedded with theory, reinforces the theory, and defines truth within the theory in use; “truth” has borders

A “knowledge base” is confined to only one perspective and is not generalizable beyond that perspective “best practice” is based on the idea that there is a “true meaning” to a situation and that certain techniques are always “superior” when it is encountered Binary logic when dissembled results in the collapse of the categories within which practice is defined and centered/ “verified” by “research”

• Any totalizing narrative that centers and marginalizes some ideas, concepts, terms at the expenses of others • a metanarrative with its own ontology (definition of what is real) as “science” does with the “scientific method”) • any attempt to “re-center” an idea, concept because of a requirement to do so to attain clarity or to be responsive to argument/criticism • the idea that it must “pose” in the guise of modernity in order to gain acceptance or to be the basis for consensus

• • • • • • • • conformity universality generalizability foundational totalizing continuities centering patterns • • • • • • • •

plurality multiplicity contextualization de-foundational temporizing discontinuities marginality ruptures



A “counter-history” to an accepted developmental narrative which is counterposed to the “field of memory” which has been created A “counter memory” which unmasks the “field of memory” as a deliberate forgetting to conceal the shame of its origins The use of reversals in the manner in which the “field of memory” presents continuities and discontinuities

Foucault’s general critique of the social sciences, especially psychology, in which it created itself in a movement of time In this creation, it performed a metaphysical move which is “covered” by a retrospective illusion It is called the “point of scientificity” and it prevents the participants from “seeing” that their “science” is simply an historic, contextual “construction” rather than an illusory point of “discovery” or “establishment”-it erases its own pre-history

Pre-history Point of scientificity

A continuation of an historically constituted definition which is concealed

educational leadership science

leadership This is what the typology of leadership does...


The “field” of educational administration was established as a “science,” in universities. This move was based on the concept of a point of “scientificity” and the imposition of periodization

Point of scientificity of the “field”

Of its claim to be a “science”: the period of “scientificity” means that “science” did not exist before and the “field” commences with the distinction of its presence in academic study

The “founding” point A “field” of memory

The periods

Jeopardizes the legitimacy of the entire field and its claims to produce leaders who are “scientifically prepared”

While the “field” claims it has abandoned its founding in “scientific management” it has never renounced its claim to be a science, nor has it seriously reflected on the embodiment of the promise of “scientific management” which was a “scientific” basis for the “one best way” which is now called “best practice”

The Cartesian Stance of Psychology’s Pose as a Science
I think-therefore I am Observed actionslanguage is transparent, culture is universal, context is not relevant The interpretative traditions of a preunderstood world science


• The notion of pre-suppositions and prejudices which form a “preunderstood world” • Without these “pre-understandings” there is nothing to think with • “Pre-understandings” pre-constitute the world for consciousness to know

Psychology Lacks
• Psychology as a science refuses to deal with its “foregrounding” • If it did deal with the “foregrounding” it would forfeit its pose as a science • Without dealing with this foregrounding, psychology’s contribution in coming to grips with leadership is stunted (not much of the variance is accounted for)

Lifting the Veil on leadership: Getting into the Foregrounding
The subject as ego/sense of wholeness: a focus of unity The Imaginary (identifications and images) The Symbolic (language and culture)

From Lacan(The Self)


The “I” as linguistically & culturally determined:located in a symbolic order as a named subject

• Only knows itself from the outside which is its position of otherness as determined by followers • This determination is called “conferred imputation” • The self is not autonomous, selforiginating or self-directing or possessing a fixed entity

• A leader’s ability to lead is anchored in a culture and context (the leader’s “I”) • Culture and context are mediated variables • Communication, the use of symbols, is anchored in language (the symbolic) for understanding with followers • Without ego (the subject as self) the person is merely a spoken subject • The ego provides distinctiveness to language utilization and rules

• Is established by followers not leaders • Leaders define themselves [“their I”] from the responses of followers. Their “otherness” is anchored in what is “conferred” • Leaders receive their sense of “strength” or even “identity” from followers within a language and culture

• Messages and stories (narratives viz. Howard Gardner) that appeal to followers’ needs for identity and definition, their desires and needs for security and well-being that are within the language and cultural symbols understood by the leader/followers • A speaker who is credible, believable, authentic and with whom they can identify

Is Lifted
• We should see the dynamic influence of followers upon leaders sense of “I” • We should deal with the unconscious • We should deal with the contextual variables in which leadership is embedded: context, culture, language • We will become more reflective and confront psychology’s foregrounding

Lifting the Leadership Veil: Conferred Imputation
Leader’s Identity story

followers Confer leader’s otherness, the “I” They Create A shared identity

“A deconstructive reading shows both how a text is dependent upon the presuppositions of a metaphysics of presence or logocentrism--that is---any text which identifies truth with presence or logos…and how the text radically questions the metaphysics it presupposes, thereby entering into contradiction with itself and point the way towards a thinking that would be other to logocentrism.” Critchley, 1992: 201

The very meaning and mission of deconstruction is to show that things---texts, institutions, traditions, societies, beliefs, and practices of whatever size and sort you need-do not have definable meanings and determinable missions, that they are always more than any mission would impose, that they exceed the boundaries they currently occupy. What is really going on in things, what is really happening, is always to come.”

Derrida and Cuputo 1997: 31


2 1. The dominant interpretation 2. The “blind spots”, circularities, and contradictions in the dominant interpretation

•Meaning is found in the difference to other words [no word by itself means anything] •meaning is always moving between words •meaning is endless shifting, deferring any final determination •meaning can never become fixed •as a linear phenomenon, text centers some ideas and surbordinates or silences others. This subordination is called “marginalization”


-analysis of silences or gaps in a text


-re-establishing the trace

An Example of

Erasing categories based on binary distinctions because there are no clear borders between terms

An Investigation of Descriptors of Principals in Middle Schools in Pennsylvania Landis’ dissertation on characteristics of effective principals (from a review of the effective school literature) at Lehigh University in the late 80’s
• positive descriptions were not significant to high student scores • some negative descriptors were significant with high student achievement scores

The Categorical Exclusivity of
The principal



Halpin (1966) lays out his rationale for what he is going to assess by arguing that leadership is generic (25). Since he has assumed it is generic he then uses the LBDQ to assess school superintendents from his work on B-29 bomber captains. He finds a different profile of “effectiveness”. He then argues that the differences are due to setting (110). He has no other choice since he has ruled out an explanation that LEADERSHIP ISN’T GENERIC. His premise is TAUTOLOGICAL, true by definition or by assumption.

Move beyond their original means and contexts
From bomber pilots to school superintendents Do what extent are bomber crews parallel to classroom teachers?

School climate

never tested his premise
1. Do all “good” bomber captains also make good school leaders? 2. Do school leaders make “good” bomber captains?

Exchange roles

Another example of
“For thirty years, the intellectual influence of Darwin and evolutionary theory laid the groundwork for a sophisticated new paradigm of human behavior… but few thinkers took the step from a physiological to an evolutionary theory of mind more ardently than Sigmund Freud, with hits conceptual synthesis of the biogenetic law.” Frank Sulloway 1979: 497 Freud: The biologist of the mind

How Have Modernists
•Silence- “maybe it will go away” •calling for a “new center” which may be a “bigger tent” but “ we”ll still be in charge” • shifting the discourse from epistemology to utilization- not, is it true, but what good is it?


Attacking PM because it lacks the characteristics of modernism
•“it’s not clear- “it’s foggy, vaporous” • “what are you proposing to take it’s place? [do you have a new center?] • “it’s not logical” [doesn’t use binary categories] • “when did it occur?” [a question about periodicity] • “it’s not science and it’s not objective” • “it doesn’t stand for anything-total relativism. Anything goes”

1. The Concept of THE UNITY OF ALL KNOWLEDGE “The eventual goal of science is to provide a single theory that describes the whole universe” S. Hawking 2. The Concept of EMANCIPATION via SCIENTIFIC DISCOURSE The individual is only free within a certain discourse, but not outside of it. Neither truth nor emancipation is limitless.

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