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Gendered educational leadership: beneath the monoglossic façade

Fuller, Kay

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Professor of Gender and Educational Leadership


Recent gender retheorisation has drawn on Mikhail Bakhtin's literary and linguistic theories of monoglossia and heteroglossia to reconcile seemingly contradictory gender discourses. Thus, girls/women and boys/men as they are biologically sexed might be discussed within a poststructural gender theory discourse that disconnects gender from the body. The concepts of gender monoglossia, gender heteroglossia and polyglossia have been applied here to empirical research into the construction of gendered leadership as it was seen to be done by one woman head teacher. The accounts of members of staff expose heteroglossia in the articulation of their understandings of gendered leadership beneath the construction of a monoglossic façade. They also reveal an understanding of polyglossic simultaneity as the head teacher is observed to ‘switch’ seamlessly between modes of doing gendered leadership depending on context and circumstances. There is also evidence of polyglossic simultaneity in the reports that might lead to the rejection and/or redefinition of gender theory discourses.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date May 20, 2014
Deposit Date Feb 26, 2016
Publicly Available Date Feb 26, 2016
Journal Gender and Education
Print ISSN 0954-0253
Electronic ISSN 1360-0516
Publisher Routledge
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 26
Issue 4
Keywords Gender, School Leadership, Mikhail Bakhtin, Discourse, Gender Monoglossia and Heteroglossia, Multilingualism
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Gender and Education on 20 May 2014, available online:


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