Journal of Aesthetic Education 49 (2):1-19 (2015)

Seamus Mulryan
Ursinus College
This article considers the ramifications of the persistently negative representations of educational administrators in popular film and television. It begins with the argument that Hollywood’s pejorative portrayals of principals not only reflect something about what it already means to be an educational administrator, but they also serve a pedagogical role in creating educational administrators. While some scholarship in film studies and cultural studies aptly describe representations of educational administrators, much of this work relies on implicit philosophical assumptions that this article attempts to make explicit. To do so, the article begins by generalizing common filmic representations of principals as reflections of culture and as forces in shaping ideas and narratives about them. Drawing from Henry Giroux, Michel Foucault, and Murray Edelman, the article argues that such portrayals are centrally defining and existentially limiting for principals, and, as such, should be taken seriously by scholars and practitioners of educational administration. The purpose of this article is to broaden understanding of the dynamic between film and viewer to make a strong case both for why we should pay attention to Hollywood portrayals of educational administrators and to direct attention to ways of thinking about the power of these portrayals.
Keywords philosophy of education  aesthetic education  existentialism  educational administration  film studies
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DOI 10.5406/jaesteduc.49.2.0001
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