Power has numerous, diverse, even opposing meanings. Classical approaches, such as Max Weber’s, define it as coercion; that is, the imposition of one person’s will over another’s. In contrast, Hannah Arendt saw power as the ability to act. The meaning of education is similarly contested, comprehending knowledge acquisition, emancipation and liberation on the one hand and estrangement, obedience and suppression on the other. As a consequence, the study of the interrelationships between these processes must draw on different accounts of, and perspectives on, a variety of concepts and analyses. Nevertheless, all the analyses of concepts of power in this volume try to avoid the simple, uncritical notion of legitimate leadership directed toward ‘best practices’. The authors propose a counterweight to mainstream education studies on school effectiveness, comparisons of attainment and performance, and institutional leadership. They cover both the broad critical spectrum and the contradictory empirical findings to start a debate on how power over education and power in education affect today’s societies.


Social Inequality Early School Leaver Popular Education Symbolic Violence Comparative Education Review 
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© Antonia Kupfer 2015

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