Critical Perspectives in Educational Leadership: A New ‘Theory Turn’?

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


This chapter presents the argument that there is a new phase or ‘theory turn’ in the field of educational leadership. These more critical perspectives in the field of educational leadership have typically been marginalised by the larger body of orthodox approaches due to a perceived lack of focus on best practice and ‘what works’ discourses, and especially in recent years with the rise of the school effectiveness and improvement movement. However, critical perspectives in educational leadership constitute an essential and vibrant part of educational leadership scholarship and discourse. Using the notion of discourse, this chapter examines how critical perspectives have been constituted historically, with some of the main themes of research. This foregrounding also highlights a number of limitations with more orthodox and hegemonic leadership discourses. A number of key writers in the field are identified and then situated in the current theory turn with an emphasis on theoretically informed research that have been prolific over the last 5–10 years.


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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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