Michael Uljens is Chair Professor of General Education and Educational Leadership at Åbo
Akademi University in Finland as from 2003.
He is Co-PI of a research program called "Non-Affirmative and Discursive Educational Leadership and Curriculum Theory" with prof. Rose Ylimaki, University of Arizona. (Research program on Educational leadership and Sustainable Development (ELSD)).
This project sees a need for a coherent framework bridging curriculum/Didaktik/educational theory, Bildung, policy and leadership studies. Educational leadership is seen as a critical-discursive, valuedriven, multi-level, -institutional,-centered as well as -professional system of actors framed by and constituting policy frameworks, governance systems and patterns.
The project is approached through a non-hierarchical view on the relation between politics, and economy. Discursive institutionalism frames an analysis of the relations between aims, contents and methods of education, i.e. how these are renegotiated and transformed at different levels, thus avoiding an normative-instrumental understanding of pedagogical work and leadership.
The project both draws and challenges on three classical(modern)concepts for understanding educational activity and intersubjectivity: reciprocal recognition (Anerkennung), non-affirmative summoning of the Other to self activity (Aufforderung) and Bildsamkeit (intentional learning.
The project develops and tests applicable and research based models for leadership and school development on an individual, organizationa/institutional and policy level. This conceptually and empirically based intervention work and design research is based on a view of educational leadership as a discursive, valuedriven, multi-level and -institutional as well as -professional system of actors working within given policy frameworks, governance systems and cultural traditions.