Sociomaterial Approaches to Conceptualising Professional Learning, Knowledge and Practice (Introduction)



Fenwick T, Nerland M & Jensen K (2012) Sociomaterial Approaches to Conceptualising Professional Learning, Knowledge and Practice (Introduction). Journal of Education and Work, 25 (1), pp. 1-13.;

First paragraph: Professionals' knowledge and decisions influence all facets of modern life. As Abbott (1988) expresses it, the professions have come to 'dominate our world. They heal our bodies, measure our profits and save our souls'. Some might argue that professionals' learning and work are not terribly different to other vocational practitioners. However, an important distinction is wielded by the internal and external regulation of professionals' knowledge, relationships and performance, and ultimately, their public accountability for what they know and do. This accountability has increased and shifted to more organisationally driven audit of performance outcomes, along with other fundamental changes to conditions of professional practice influenced by market pressures, network arrangements, declining discretion and public trust, new public managerialism and so forth, as many have argued (inter alia, Adler et al. 2008; Brint 2001; Evetts 2009; Freidson 2001). At the same time, the body of shared professional knowledge is not stable but increasingly challenged and subjected to continual transformations. New digital technologies, new textual audit regimes, proliferating transnational and virtual knowledge resources, interprofessional practice with its corresponding knowledge conflicts and new knowledge requirements -- such pressures are all raising questions about the complexities of professional knowledge and knowledge strategies.

sociomaterial theory; professional learning; practice-based theory; Education Sociological aspects Research; Education Research

Journal of Education and Work: Volume 25, Issue 1

Publication date29/02/2012
Date accepted by journal04/08/2011
PublisherTaylor & Francis (Routledge)
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Professor Tara Fenwick
Professor Tara Fenwick

Emeritus Professor, Education