Paradoxes of Subjectivity and Authority

  • Chris Dolan
Part of the Educational Leadership Theory book series (ELT)


The themes of truth and power permeate each of the paradoxes distilled from my empirical work and theoretical interpretation. Those grouped as paradoxes of subjectivity and authority relate particularly to the use of truth as a form of power (Foucault, 1988, p.107) to work directly on the soul of the principal by shaping principal authority and subjectivity. While the use of ‘authority’ does not discount the legal responsibilities that legitimise the principal’s representative function, the focus is mainly on the performative acts of authority and the ‘legitimate resources’ they provide (Haugaard, 2012, p. 73) in constituting the principal as a figure of authority in schools within particular social and political limits. In the systemic arrangements within which my study is situated, the circulation of power between central policy-makers and the principal is vitally important in bestowing and sanctioning preferred subjectivities. More pointedly, the regimes of truth that are given expression in prominent discourses form a political incitement for principals to recognise and shape themselves in these discourses.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chris Dolan
    • 1
  1. 1.University of South AustraliaAdelaideAustralia

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