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In the name of honor: Swedish school leaders’ experiences of honor-related dilemmas
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Education.
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Centre for Principal Development.
2013 (English)In: Journal of Educational Administration, ISSN 0957-8234, Vol. 51, no 6, 855-867 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to examine honor-related dilemmas that principals encounter in daily practice. Such dilemmas illustrate how special demands from parents can collide with the school's democratic mission.

Design/methodology/approach –In total, 53 principals who participated in an in-service program, which aimed to enhance consciousness and knowledge concerning honor-related issues, were asked to describe their experiences of honor-related dilemmas. The paper uses the understanding of the honor culture as an analytic probe in studying and understanding the dilemmas and how these collide with the school's inner work in accordance with democratic values.

Findings – The major findings illustrate that the participating principals have to deal with honor-related issues in their daily practice. The dilemmas include parents’ demands for restrictions affecting girls, young women, boys, and young men from preschool up to adult education. These restrictions limit their right to participate in all school subjects and activities and to live a life free of oppression.

Practical implications – The paper reveals the importance of enhanced consciousness and knowledge concerning honor-related issues. Principals must have the ability to identify and recognize at-risk students and organize the necessary support for those students without stigma and exclusion. How the school's structure and culture support intercultural practice and inclusion is important to avoid a contribution to marginalization and a rejection of the school's value base.

Originality/value – A number of research studies have been done regarding culture clashes in the multicultural school context. This paper identifies dilemmas that can be related to the honor culture and how these are expressed in the principal's office.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. Vol. 51, no 6, 855-867 p.
Keyword [en]
Democratic values, Honour, Principals, School leadership, Schooling, Sweden
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-80534DOI: 10.1108/JEA-08-2012-0090OAI: diva2:650218
Available from: 2013-09-20 Created: 2013-09-20 Last updated: 2013-09-26Bibliographically approved

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Norberg, KatarinaTörnsén, Monika
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