(2005). 'Communities of practice' in Higher Education: useful heuristic or educational model?
In: Barton, David and Tusting, Karin eds.
Beyond communities of practice: language power and social context.
Learning in doing: Social, cognitive and computational perspectives.
New York: Cambridge University Press, pp. 180–197.
The concept of 'communities of practice' (Lave and Wenger 1991, Wenger 1998) has become an influential one in education, management, and social sciences in recent years. This book consists of a series of studies by linguists and educational researchers, examining and developing aspects of the concept which have remained relatively unexplored. Framings provided by theories of language-in-use, literacy practices, and discourse extend the concept, bringing to light issues around conflict, power, and the significance of the broader social context which have been overlooked. Chapters assess the relationship between communities of practice and other theories including literacy studies, critical language studies, the ethnography of communication, socio-cultural activity theory, and sociological theories of risk. Domains of empirical research reported include schools, police stations, adult basic education, higher education, and multilingual settings. The book highlights the need to incorporate thinking around language-in-use, power and conflict, and social context into communities of practice.
• Addresses and develops a significant and influential concept, ‘communities of practice’
• Makes language and power central to communities of practice
• Important case studies of communities of practice in different contexts including education, computer gaming, and workplaces.
Introduction; 1. Literacy, reification, and the dynamics of social interaction - David Barton and Mary Hamilton; 2. Language and power in communities of practice - Karin Tusting; 3. Mediating allegations of racism in a multiethnic London school: what speech communities and communities of practice can tell us about discourse and power - Angela Creese; 4. ‘I’ve picked some up from a colleague’: language, sharing, and communities of practice in an institutional setting - Frances Rock; 5. The person in the doing: negotiating the experience of self - Maria Clara Keating; 6. Communities of practice and learning communities: do bilingual co-workers learn in community? - Deirdre Martin; 7. Moving beyond communities of practice in adult basic education - Steven Robert Harris and Nicola Shelswell; 8. Communities of practice in higher education: useful heuristic or educational model? - Mary Lea; 9. Communities of practice, risk, and Sellafield - Greg Myers; 10. Semiotic social spaces and affinity spaces: from ‘the age of mythology’ to today’s schools - James Paul Gee.
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