Producing cosmos? The explanatory power of social drama for school reform

Martin Forsey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The winds of decentralizing reform that have been driving their way through various governmenteducation systems across the globe over the best part of two decades have generated a great deal ofconflict. In the late 1990s those working in the Western Australian government high school inwhich I conducted the research reported here found themselves in the middle of a devolutionarystorm that drew them into an increasingly disruptive conflict with their reform-minded principal.Victor Turner’s influential depiction of significant conflict in terms of a processual unit that hecalled a social drama has considerable analytical purchase for this case study. However, while thefour stages*/breach, crisis, redress and reintegration*/were easily recognizable in the eventsdescribed here, it is Turner’s claim that conflict brings ‘fundamental aspects of society, normallyoverlaid by the customs and habits of daily intercourse into frightening prominence’ that is ofgreater interest. Linking social dramas with practice theory provides a productive means foranalysing and explaining the sorts of conflict produced in any social setting.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)285-300
JournalEthnography and Education
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2006


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