PurposeThe purpose of this paper is to examine the role of neoliberalism and the accreditation of educational leadership programs in one Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) country by contextualizing the accreditation process and closely examining the Educational Leadership Constituent Council (ELCC) standards used by NCATE, now CAEP, to accredit educational leadership programs in the GCC. By using Habermas’ knowledge constitutive interests (KCIs) and evoking notions of floating signifiers, the paper develops an understanding of the use of Western-developed standards in a country that is different than the one in which these standards were conceived and how the discourse of accreditation standards shapes understandings and meanings of educational leadership.Design/methodology/approachA critical discourse analysis of the ELCC standards is conducted using a two-prong strategy that applies Habermas’ KCIs and evoking the notions of floating signifiers as a theoretical framework.FindingsUnderstanding that knowledge is bounded by cultural circumstances, findings indicate that the ELCC standards contain all three KCIs, and various floating signifiers are embedded within the ELCC discourse that are problematic in a culture that is vastly different than the one in which these standards were conceived.Originality/valueThere are a few, if any, studies that have examined neoliberalism and accreditation in a GCC country. In particular, there are no studies that have examined the ELCC standards being used outside the USA. The research provides educators with an insight into the different forms of knowledge and understanding of the surplus of meaning of various concepts that are used within the ELCC professional standards outside the country where the standards were conceived without due regard for contextualization. The study provides discussion on how the discourse of the ELCC standards shapes understandings and meanings of educational leadership and educational leaders.
Journal of Educational Administration – Emerald Publishing
Published: Feb 6, 2017
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