Title: Aesthetic Dimensions of Educational Administration and Leadership
Author(s): Eugenie A. Samier and Richard J. Bates with Adam Stanley
Publishing Date: March 2012
In their book Aesthetic Dimensions of Educational Administration and Leadership, Eugenie A. Samier, Richard J. Bates (2006) et al., have made a significant contribution to a critical body of literature, which suggests that an aesthetic theoretical framework is an alternative lens through which we can better know and understand the field of educational administration and leadership. Samier and Bates posit that a discussion of aesthetics as it relates to educational administration has been limited to a consideration of aesthetics as only a mechanism through which the effectiveness of administration could be improved. Each chapter of this book provides a useful perspective that contributes to a broader discussion of aesthetics, which represents a significant departure from the conventional, mechanistic approaches to educational administration and leadership.
Divided into three parts, this book begins by examining the various philosophical traditions of aesthetics as they relate to educational administration, focusing on the philosophical writings of Kant, Nietzsche, Collingwood, Habermas, and Dewey, among others. Part two explores architecture, literature, film, and movement as aesthetic sources for administrative critique and part three focuses on some of the implied problems of charisma, heroism, and authority. This book concludes with an analysis of politics and power within the context of contemporary educational administration and leadership theory. Samier and Bates note that this book is written primarily for current and aspiring school administrators and leaders, and it has significant implications for the future of educational administration and leadership studies.
Commentary & Views
The aesthetic framework presented by the contributing authors conceive of a new form of administration: one that is not consumed by empirical conceptions of leadership. An aesthetic administration embraces beauty and the unknown, re-imagines educative spaces as places for possibility and creativity, and interrupts the "technocratic project" of educational administration. This book is especially notable for its specific recommendations on embracing an aesthetic perspective. I particularly agree with Milley's recommendation that academic preparation programmes are safe spaces in which aspiring educational leaders might practice engaging in work about educational administration and leadership as an aesthetic exercise. Highly intellectual and persuasively written, each author makes a convincing argument for why an aesthetic framework is needed to provide alternative solutions to today's educational issues. I am convinced that an aesthetic theoretical framework can introduce new ideas into the field of educational administration and leadership and highly recommend these ideas be implemented by current students of educational policy studies.