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• 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
•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



Literature &
literary criticism
advertising 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]
“ 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
[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
Jean-Francois Lyotard 1984:
“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
Usher & Edwards (1996: 24)

Reality is not the same everywhere to all
peoples at the same time; it is culturally
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
Modernism Postmodernism
• conformity • plurality
• universality • multiplicity
• generalizability • contextualization
• foundational • de-foundational
• totalizing • temporizing
• continuities • discontinuities
• centering • marginality
• patterns • ruptures
genealogy de-construction
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
It is “covered”
is called byofa scientificity”
the “point retrospective 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
A continuation of an historically
Pre-history constituted definition which is
Point of
leadership leadership
This is what
the typology
of leadership
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
Point of
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” The
point periods

A “field” of memory
Jeopardizes the
legitimacy of
the entire field
and its claims
to produce leaders
who are “scientifically
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--
I am
Observed actions- science
language is trans-
parent, culture is
universal, context
is not relevant

The interpretative
traditions of a pre-
understood world
• The notion of pre-suppositions
and prejudices which form a “pre-
understood 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
From Lacan(The Self)
The subject as ego/sense of wholeness:
a focus of unity

The Imaginary
(identifications and images)
The Symbolic
(language and culture) unconscious

The “I” as linguistically & culturally

determined:located in a symbolic order as a named
• Only knows itself from the outside which
is its position of otherness as determined
by followers
• This determination is called “conferred
• The self is not autonomous, self-
originating 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
• 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

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
1 2

1. The dominant

2. The “blind spots”,

circularities, and
contradictions in
the dominant
•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
•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
1 gaps in a text

-re-establishing the
2 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
• some negative descriptors were significant with high
student achievement scores
The Categorical Exclusivity of
The principal

aloof caring
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
to school

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
make “good”
Exchange roles bomber
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

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”
“The eventual goal of science is to provide a single
theory that describes the whole universe” S. Hawking
The individual is only free within a
certain discourse, but not outside of
it. Neither truth nor emancipation
is limitless.