Degree Name

MA in International Education

First Advisor

Peter Simpson


Leadership as a form of practice unbound by social position is not a concept commonly taught to students within formal education institutions. It is even less comonly an object of Foucauldian critical discourse analysis, which is the approach that this capstone paper uses to take a closer look at the discourse of student leadership at a newly founded, private, international boarding high school in Japan: UWC ISAK Japan. By doing so it explores the relationship between the language and practice of leadership – a program which, on paper, seems critically liberating, but upon analysis also reveals important contradictions. Through the lense of Foucault's discurse theory and a combination of Willig and Parker's discourse analysis approaches this mixed-methods paper examines interviews from students and employees at the school and a graduation speech read as discursive text. The nuances of the underlying power relations within the leadership discourse are thus unraveled, and age and money are identified as drivers of a disciplinary mechanism that subjugates students and legitimizes those occupying traditional positions of power at the school.


Educational Sociology | Secondary Education | Social Control, Law, Crime, and Deviance


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