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Original Research ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Psychol. | doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2019.02619

The Interactional-Institutional Construction of Teachers' Emotions In Hong Kong: The Inhabited Institutionalism Perspective

  • 1Beijing Normal University, China

This article illustrates the social construction of teachers’ emotions by drawing on the emergent sociological perspective of inhabited institutionalism to report on a qualitative research project on teachers’ emotions in Hong Kong. A thematic analysis was performed on the transcripts of interviews conducted in 2012 with 21 teachers at Hong Kong secondary schools and on the policy documents and newspaper articles from the education reform era of 1980 to 2011. Three major themes emerged from the data: (1) the institutional logic of whole-personal education, (2) the institutional logic of accountability, and (3) an asymmetry between these institutional logics which is causing a displacement of the meaning of education and thus has emotional consequences for teachers. Taken together, these themes show that managerialist education reforms bring the institutional logic of accountability into the institutional environment of education, which results in the recoupling of school administration and teachers’ work. This recoupling leads to the decline of teachers’ work autonomy. The institutional logic of accountability tends to inhibit the institutional logic of whole-personal education and to replace the instructional meaning of education with managerial meanings. In the institutional context, teachers are forced to do a lot of work that they interpret as meaningless, but they find they are powerless to change the situation. They may therefore choose to inhabit the institutional logic of accountability and the tightly coupled institutional context of school organizations. Consequently, teachers may become unhappy at work during and after managerialist education reforms. According to these findings, teachers’ emotions can be regarded as an interactional-institutional construction. That is, teachers’ emotions may be socially constructed through the negotiation of meaning under the institutional logics that guide their actions and the interactions that uphold the institutional context of the school organizations that they inhabit.

Keywords: Teachers' emotions, inhabited institutionalism, Institutionalism, interactionism, Institutional logics, Education Reform

Received: 03 Aug 2019; Accepted: 06 Nov 2019.

Copyright: © 2019 Tsang. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Kwok Kuen Tsang, Beijing Normal University, Beijing, China, gkk1212@yahoo.com.hk