A critical analysis of power in the institutionalization of changes in a new teacher mentoring program: a case study
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The purpose of this case study is to describe the way power, as individual agency, works in the space of institutionalization of a new teacher mentoring program. The space of institutionalization is thought of as a space in which the design of the mentoring program and the actions of participants interact as the program undergoes changes. The participants in this study tell about the way each goes about mentoring in response to the program changes. Their stories are analyzed through critical discourse analysis for workings of power. Two kinds of power or agency emerge through the analysis. Instrumental agency is the physical activities, perceptions, and spoken words of the mentors limited by their subject and structural positionality. Instrumental agency in the space of institutionalization worked to instill differentiation as plurality and normalization as objectification into the mentoring program. When instrumental agency is the dominant power in the space of institutionalization, the legitimacy of the mentoring program is rationalized as legitimization. Legitimization of the program results in an ecology of the space of institutionalization open to vagaries of political expediency. The second kind of power or agency to emerge is operative agency. Operative agency originates in sensings and feelings as expressed in wondering and uncertainty about mentoring roles and the mentoring program. When engaging operative agency as power, differentiation and normalization in the space of institutionalization can be questioned.
Ferguson, Phyllis Cavanaugh (2007). A critical analysis of power in the institutionalization of changes in a new teacher mentoring program: a case study. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from