Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Punk ideals, school leaders and fashioning an “authentic” self

Heffernan, Amanda; Thomson, Pat

Punk ideals, school leaders and fashioning an “authentic” self Thumbnail


Amanda Heffernan


The field of education is in dire need of different ways of thinking about attracting, supporting, and retaining school leaders. We see the idea of punk as a space that may offer some leeway for thinking differently about professionalism for school leaders. In this paper, we draw on thinking about punk subcultures to recognise the ways in which leaders hold self-expression and identity as important, while also thinking about how leaders as a collective might push back against some of the narrow ideas of who or what a school leader can be and do. We present findings from a mixed-methods study of women school leaders from around the world. Drawing on an anonymous survey and interviews, and literatures from sociology, fashion studies, and cultural studies, we explore women’s experiences and identities as school leaders. The paper contributes to our understanding of professionalism and identity and also how we can better attract, support, and retain school leaders.


Heffernan, A., & Thomson, P. (2023). Punk ideals, school leaders and fashioning an “authentic” self. Research in Education, 115(1), 80-99.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jul 29, 2022
Online Publication Date Oct 11, 2022
Publication Date 2023-05
Deposit Date Aug 2, 2022
Publicly Available Date Oct 11, 2022
Journal Research in Education
Print ISSN 0034-5237
Electronic ISSN 2050-4608
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 115
Issue 1
Pages 80-99
Keywords Education
Public URL
Publisher URL


You might also like

Downloadable Citations