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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

“Defiance, Disrespect, and Insubordination:” Disciplinary Power in School Discipline Policies and Practices; A Foucauldian Synoptic Text
by Reeves, Tabitha L., Ed.D., The George Washington University, 2021, 232; 28411505
Abstract (Summary)

This study aims to present a synoptic content analysis of school disciplinary policies and administrative practices. This study is grounded in the theoretical perspective of Michel Foucault and his work on power and social institutions focusing on how power is interwoven into social institutions and works through and on those within it. The unit of analysis for this study is the school discipline policy itself and those who interpret and act on it, the school administrators. Regions II/IV of Virginia provides the discipline policies and the participants for this study.

The synoptic content analysis uncovers language that demonstrates the presence of technologies or mechanisms of power, which are deeply rooted in school disciplinary policies and administrative discourse and maintain and perpetuate harsher disproportionate disciplinary practices for students with disabilities; normalizing judgment, surveillance, and hierarchical observation, and the examination. The synoptic content analysis also uncovers language that appears to be acting in resistance to current disciplinary policies and practices.

This study adds to the growing body of existing literature surrounding school discipline policy and practice and promotes an awareness of the subjectification and marginalization that disproportionate use of harsher punitive measures has on students with disabilities. The study is also a call to policy reform that argues for “wording” changes to the policy and a shift in how educational leaders and society view behavior and define “the good student.” This study forces educational leaders, more specifically building administrators, to authentically reflect on implicit biases that may exist concerning behavior, rules, expectations, and behavioral problems exhibited by students with disabilities.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Nganga, Christine W.
Commitee: Burns, James P., Gresham, Dora
School: The George Washington University
Department: Educational Administration & Policy Studies
School Location: United States -- District of Columbia
Source: DAI-A 82/9(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Education, Social research, Educational administration, Education Policy
Keywords: School discipline, Disciplinary policies, Synoptic content analysis, Administrative discourse, Michael Foucault, Power
Publication Number: 28411505
ISBN: 9798597065656
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