Social media, professionalism and higher education: a sociomaterial examination


Fenwick T (2016) Social media, professionalism and higher education: a sociomaterial examination. Studies in Higher Education, 41 (4), pp. 664-677.

Within debates about student professionalism and how to develop it in higher education (HE), increasing focus has turned to students' uses of social media. While social media skills are promoted by some HE educators, most emphasis is still given to perceived hazards and abuses of social media in practice. These are typically framed as a matter of professional ethics; some have argued for new codes of ‘e-professionalism'. This article problematizes the dynamics being conflated in these debates, drawing from three theoretical sources: current debates about professionalism; critical digital media studies that provide nuanced analyses of social media engagements; and sociomaterial concepts that reconfigure the issues to suggest new possibilities. The argument is theory-based and exploratory, not empirical. The aim is to pose new directions for research and teaching that open, not foreclose, new issues and enactments of professionalism.

professionalism; healthcare education and training; professional education; critique; e-learning technologies

Studies in Higher Education: Volume 41, Issue 4

Publication date31/12/2016
Publication date online29/07/2014
PublisherTaylor and Francis