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The Man in the Principal's Office

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Table of Contents

Part 1 Preface, 2003 Part 2 Preface and Acknowledgements, 1973 Part 3 About the Author Chapter 4 Chapter 1: A Principal Investigator in Search of a Principal Chapter 5 Chapter 2: A Day in the Life Chapter 6 Chapter 3: The Principal as a Person Chapter 7 Chapter 4: The School and Community Chapter 8 Chapter 5: What a Principal Does: Formal Encounters Chapter 9 Chapter 6: What a Principal Does: Informal Encounters and Daily Routines Chapter 10 Chapter 7: The Annual Cycle of the Principalship Chapter 11 Chapter 8: Maintaining the System: The Socialization of the Principal Chapter 12 Chapter 9: Maintaining the System: The Principal as Socializer Chapter 13 Chapter 10: Behind Many Masks Chapter 14 Chapter 11: Patience and Prudence Part 15 Epilogue: Reactions and Reflections

About the Author

Harry F. Wolcott (1929-2012) was professor emeritus in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Oregon and a leading author in anthropology and research methods. Wolcott's major works include anthropological studies of American education: Teachers Versus Technocrats and The Man in the Principal's Office: An Ethnography. He also wrote extensively on fieldwork and writing: Transforming Qualitative Data; The Art of Fieldwork; Ethnography: A Way of Seeing; and Writing Up Qualitative Data and is the author of the more recent Sneaky Kid and Its Aftermath: Ethics and Intimacy in Fieldwork (all published by AltaMira Press).


Wolcott's (1973) study of an elementary school principal . . . has been described by anthropologists as a classic ethnography. -- George Spindler & Louise Spindler * Anthropology & Education Quarterly * Wolcott demonstrates the rare insights that can be derived from applying anthropological concepts and methodology to the domain of education. -- Arnold J. Keller * National Elementary Principal * The Man in the Principal's Office is such an intriquing story! I loved it. The book provides useful educational examples for an instructor in sociology of education to exemplify concepts such as manifest and latent funtions, unintended consequences, sponsored and contest mobility, and especially socialization and the bureacracy in a way meaningful to educators and teachers. Then, of course, for our many doctoral students, this study is a fine example of an ethnography. -- Edith King, University of Denver The Man in the Principal's Office: An Ethnography is urban micro-ethnography at its best...Wolcott's research demonstrates the value which exhaustive analysis of any occupation can have in highlighting the assumptions of a society as a whole and as such stands as a model for the heretofore under-used technique of approaching the study of urban society through careful analysis of the fusion of individual goals and identity with the behavioral expectations appropriate to their occupations. -- Richard Basham & David DeGroot * American Anthropologist *

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