The knowledge and decisions of professionals influence all facets of modern life, a fact reflected by the increasing and distinct emphasis on public accountability for what professionals know and do. The nature of this accountability has been fundamentally transformed in response to a changing context of market pressures, network arrangements, declining discretion and public trust, and public managerialism. To tackle these challenges, an important body of research has emerged which concentrates on the material elements and processes of professional learning, and considers how these affect wider society.
This volume presents specific pressures on professionals’ learning in different occupational contexts ranging from public school teaching to medicine and creative industry. These pressures are wrought by changing regulatory frameworks, changing modes of organising, changing demands and changing knowledge authorities in professional practice. The authors stress the importance of understanding these relations as sociomaterial webs through which the important moments of professional action and decisions emerge. This approach moves us beyond accepting ‘learning’ as an identifiable, individualist phenomenon by emphasising the multiplicities around professional practice ‘standards’ and ‘quality’, workarounds, responsibility, agency, and knowledge practices. As the chapters here demonstrate, sociomaterial perspectives raise new questions and methodologies that can highlight what is often invisible in the sometimes messy dynamics of professional learning, and point to new ways of promoting and supporting professional education.
This book was originally published as a special issue of the Journal of Education and Work.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Sociomaterial approaches to conceptualising professional learning and practise Tara Fenwick, Monika Nerland and Karen Jensen 1. Docta ignorantia: professional knowing at the core and at the margins of practice Silvia Gherardi 2. The knowledge that matters in professional practices Anne Edwards and Harry Daniels 3. Professional learning and the materiality of social practice Åsa Mäkitalo 4. Interprofessional working and learning: ‘recontextualising’ lessons from ‘project work’ for programmes of initial professional formation David Guile 5. Epistemic practices and object relations in professional work Monika Nerland and Karen Jensen 6. Thinking teacher professional learning performatively: a socio-material account Dianne Mulcahy 7. Complexity science and professional learning for collaboration: a critical reconsideration of possibilities and limitations Tara Fenwick
Tara Fenwick is Professor of Education at the University of Stirling, UK, and Director of ProPEL, international network for research in Professional Practice, Education and Learning, www.propel.stir.ac.uk. Her research focuses on exploring sociomaterial approaches to understanding learning, knowledge politics and practice in professional work. Her most recent books include Knowledge Mobilization and Educational Research (Routledge 2012) with L. Farrell, Emerging Approaches for Educational Research: Tracing the Sociomaterial (Routledge 2011) with R. Edwards and P Sawchuk, and Actor-network theory and education with R Edwards (Routledge 2010).
Monika Nerland is Professor in the Department of Educational Research, University of Oslo, Norway. Her research focuses on knowledge practices and learning in professional education and work. She has recently been the leader for the project Learning Trajectories in Knowledge Economies, funded by the Research Council of Norway, and is currently co-leading a project that examines the role epistemic practices play in inducting students in higher professional education in expert communities.
Karen Jensen is Professor in the Department of Educational Research, University of Oslo, Norway. Her research area is professional education and work. She has published widely on the role of knowledge in professional communities and was the scientific leader for the research project Professional Learning in a Changing Society (2004–2008), funded by the Research Council of Norway. Her most recent book is Professional Learning in the Knowledge Society (2012), co-edited with Leif Chr. Lahn and Monika Nerland.