Michel Foucault and Discourses of Educational Leadership

  • Richard Niesche
  • Christina Gowlett
Part of the Educational Leadership Theory book series (ELT)


This chapter examines the key ideas of Michel Foucault. Foucault’s work is used to highlight a number of prescient issues in education and educational leadership, namely, how discourse works in the creation of particular norms and truths that function in the field of educational leadership. The chapter begins by situating this work in relation to previous work drawing on Foucault’s ideas in education and educational leadership and then discusses some of the main ideas associated with Foucault: discourse, power, governmentality, ethics and the subject. Within each of these sections, links are made to educational leadership discourse that is both useful for further examination and how such approaches may still serve some important use given the age of Foucault’s work and also the previous use of his ideas. The final section provides a brief annotated bibliography of some key works to explore for future readers and research.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard Niesche
    • 1
  • Christina Gowlett
    • 2
  1. 1.School of EducationUniversity of New South WalesSydneyAustralia
  2. 2.School of EducationThe University of QueenslandBrisbaneAustralia

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