Is the Land of Oz an Alien Nation? A Sociopolitical Study of School Community Conflict

Colleen L. Larson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This interpretive case study examines the political thinking underpinning the strategies and counterstrategies used by administrators and Black leaders engaged in a political struggle over the fate of seven Black youths who protested against unfair treatment in their suburban high school. Using the framework of political analysis developed by Bacharach and Mundell, this case study reveals the opposing logics of action, or underlying belief systems, that informed both administrative and community responses throughout this protest. This case study reveals that midlevel administrators acting out of an allegiance to, and belief in, orthodox images of administration face a paradox in diverse and changing school communities; the more these administrators aligned with images of effective administration as bureaucratic control, the more ineffective they became in interpreting and responding to a politically savvy interest group not subject to administrative authority.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)312-350
Number of pages39
JournalEducational Administration Quarterly
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Public Administration


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