Educational Administration as a Disciplinary Practice: Appropriating Foucault's View of Power, Discourse, and Method

Gary L. Anderson, Jaime Grinberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This article discusses the relevance of Foucault's work to the field of educational administration. It argues for Foucault's concept of disciplinary practice as a powerful new generative metaphor for the field. A major implication of Foucault's view of power is that educational practices that may appear more democratic, participatory, or progressive may in fact constitute forms of disciplinary power and thus result in more effective technologies of control. The authors argue that regardless of which techniques of administration are used, the effects of disciplinary power cannot be escaped. No educational practices are inherently more empowering than others. They further discuss how disciplinary power operates through discourse practices, which, according to Foucault, link knowledge and power Discourses shape administrative practices, and administrative practices produce discourses. Finally, the authors discuss how Foucault's methodology (genealogy) can be used to determine why some discourses have prevailed over others in the field of educational administration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)329-353
Number of pages25
JournalEducational Administration Quarterly
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 1998


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Public Administration

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