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Communities of Practice

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Communities of Practice

  1. 1. Communities of Practice Wenger, Etienne. (1999). Communities of Practice: Learning, Meaning, and Identity 2008/03/19 CASSIE DOROTHY LEYMARIE SUNGWOO KIM Language Socialization Professor Joan Kelly Hall Class Presentation
  2. 2. Communities of Practice Introduction: Social Theory of Learning Four Premises in CoP Framework 1. We are social beings. 2. Knowledge is a matter of competence with respect to valued enterprise. 3. Knowledge is a matter of participating in the pursuit of such enterprises. 4. Meaning is ultimately what learning is to produce.
  3. 3. Communities of Practice Components of Social Theory of Learning
  4. 4. Communities of Practice PART I: PRACTICE 1. Meaning in terms of Participation and Reification 2. Community 3. Learning 4. Boundary 5. Locality CommunitesofPractice
  5. 5. Communities of Practice Introduction T/F Quiz 1 “Communities of practice approach favors agency over structure in its conceptual framework.”
  6. 6. Communities of Practice CoP vs Traditional Approach Traditional Approach in Social Theory 1. Theories of social structure: institutions, norms, and rules - extreme: structural determinism 2. Theories of situated experience: dynamics of everyday existence, improvisation, coordination, and interactional choreography - extreme: no structure at all CoP perspective on Learning is more about 1. Theories of social practice: everyday activity with emphasis on the social systems of shared resources 2. Theories of identity: social formation of the person
  7. 7. Communities of Practice Chapter 1: Meaning T/F Quiz “Participation is similar to collaboration.”
  8. 8. Communities of Practice Meaning 1. Meaning is located in a process of the negotiation of meaning. 2. The negotiation of meaning involves the interaction of two constituent processes: participation and reification. 3. Participation and reification form a duality (not dichotomy).
  9. 9. Communities of Practice Practice 1. Practice is a process by which we can experience the world and our engagement with it as meaningful. e.g. a piece of painting as a thin veneer vs. as a work of art 2. Practice is about meaning as an experience of everyday life. e.g. eating some snack after watching a video about starvation / experiencing the multilingual contexts after taking the language socialization class
  10. 10. Communities of Practice Participation & Reification 1. Dialectical Unity – Yin/Yang 2. Each one has its own properties. 3. Each one has its own mode of existence. 4. But each one is interdependent on each other.
  11. 11. Communities of Practice Participation & Reification T/F Quiz “All participation involves reification: All reification involves participation.”
  12. 12. Communities of Practice Participation 1. Participation presupposes the possibility of mutual recognition. e.g. Computers do not participate in the communities of practice. A fish does not participate in a family. 2. Participation is a source of identity. e.g. Trajectories and modes of participation transform your identities in the community of practice. 3. Participation is not tantamount to collaboration. e.g. confliction / competition | 4. Participation in social communities shape our experience and it also shape those communities. e.g. teaching internship in a middle school 5. Participation is broader than mere engagement in a practice. e.g. A businessperson does not cease to be one after her or his working hours.
  13. 13. Communities of Practice Reification Main Entry: re•ify Etymology: Latin res “thing” Date: 1854 Meaning: to regard (something abstract) as a material or concrete thing / to treat (an abstraction) as substantially existing, or as a concrete material object
  14. 14. Communities of Practice Reification 1. We project our meanings into the world and then we perceive them as existing in the world, as having a reality of their own. This process can be called ‘reification.’ e.g. ‘democracy’ or ‘the economy’ 2. Any community of practice produces abstractions, tools, symbols, stories, terms, and concepts that reify something of that practice in a congealed form. 3. Reification can refer both to a process and its product. 4. The process of reification does not necessarily originate in design. 5. Reification can take a great variety of forms. e.g. pyramids, formula, truck
  15. 15. Communities of Practice Complementarity of P & R 1. Participation makes up for reification. e.g. Judges interpret our laws. 2. Reification makes up for the inherent limitations of participation. e.g. notes, monuments, photos, blogs, etc 3. The balance between participation and reification is important in communities of practice.  If participation prevails there may not be enough material to anchor the specificities of coordination and to uncover diverging assumptions.  If reification prevails there may not be enough overlap in participation to recover a coordinated, relevant, or generative meaning.
  16. 16. Communities of Practice The duality of Participation and Reification
  17. 17. Communities of Practice Chapter 2 Community T/F Quiz “A residential neighborhood is a community of practice.”
  18. 18. Communities of Practice Source of coherence of a community 1. Mutual engagement: mutual relationship such as collaboration, challenges and competitions  e.g. having lunch together with colleges while talking about current issues or complaining about company policies 2. A joint enterprise: the negotiation of a joint enterprise, mutual accountability  e.g. establishing corporate vision in an interactive fashion http://www.google.com/corporate/index.html - ”Google's mission is to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful.” 3. A shared repertoire: common knowledge and artifacts  e.g. Knowledge Management System http://www.arescorporation.com/products.aspx?style=2&%20pict_id=189&menu_id
  19. 19. Communities of Practice Chapter 3: Learning T/F Quiz: “Every community of practice involves learning.”
  20. 20. Communities of Practice CoP as a view of Learning 1. Learning is another perspective to look at Communities of Practice 2. “Communities of practice can be thought of as shared histories of learning.”
  21. 21. Communities of Practice CoP as Histories of Learning 1. Practice combines continuity and discontinuity. 2. Learning in practice involves:  Evolving forms of mutual engagement  Understanding and tuning their enterprise  Developing their repertoire, styles, and discourses 3. Practice is not an object but rather an emergent structure.
  22. 22. Communities of Practice Chapter 4: Boundary
  23. 23. Communities of Practice Two types of connections between CoPs 1. Boundary object – artifacts, documents, terms, concepts, and other forms of reification and around which communities of practice can organized their interconnections (e.g. IRB form for research protection ) 2. Brokering – connections provided by people who can introduce elements of one practice into another (e.g. Double membership of task force members)
  24. 24. Communities of Practice Chapter 5: Locality T/F Quiz: “PSU is a community of practice.”
  25. 25. Communities of Practice Constellation of Practices  The term constellation refers to a grouping of stellar objects that are seen as a configuration even though they may not by particularly close to one another, of the same kind, or of the same size.  When a social configuration is viewed as a constellation rather than a community of practice, the continuity of the constellation must be understood in terms of interactions among practices.
  26. 26. Communities of Practice The Local in the Global Participating in the global vs. engaging with the global The cosmopolitan character of practice vs. locality e.g. UN headquarters staff
  27. 27. Communities of Practice PART II: IDENTITY 1. Identity in practice (parallels between practice and identity) 2. Identities of participation & non-participation 3. Modes of belonging 4. Identification and negotiability CommunitesofPractice
  28. 28. Communities of Practice Identity in practice: Parallels between practice and identity practice as…  negotiation of meaning (in terms of participation and reification)  community  shared history of learning  boundary and landscape  constellations identity as…  negotiated experience of self (in terms of participation and reification)  membership  learning trajectory  nexus of multi-membership  belonging defined globally but experienced locally
  29. 29. Communities of Practice “In a landscape defined by boundaries and peripheries, a coherent identity is of necessity a mixture of being in and being out” Participation and non-participation
  30. 30. Communities of Practice  Identities of non-participation - not just insider and outsider but an interaction SOURCES: 1) how we locate ourselves in a social landscape 2) what we care about and what we neglect 3) what we attempt to know/choose to ignore 4) with whom we seek connections/whom we avoid 5)how we engage and direct our energies 6) how we attempt to steer our trajectories Participation and non-participation
  31. 31. Communities of Practice  Identities of non-participation - not just insider and outsider but an interaction  In the case of peripherality, some degree of non- participation is necessary to enable a kind of participation that is less than full. It is the participation aspect that dominates and defines non-participation as an enabling factor of participation  In the case of marginality, a form of non-participation prevents full participation. It is the non-participation aspect that dominates and comes to define a restricted form of participation. Participation and non-participation (Cont’d)
  32. 32. Communities of Practice Participation and non-participation (Cont’d)  Identities of non-participation- not just insider and outsider but an interaction These are not just personal choices but involve processes of community formation where the configuration of social relations is work of the self. This configuration takes place at different levels: •Trajectories with respect to specific communities of practice •Boundary relations and the demands of multimembership •Our position and the position of our communities within broader constellations of practices and broader institutions
  33. 33. Communities of Practice Institutional non-participation  It is often the case that, rather than being direct boundary relations between communities and people or among communities, relations of non participation are mediated by institutional arrangements (ex. Non-participation as compromise, strategy, cover) Participation and non-participation (Cont’d)
  34. 34. Communities of Practice Modes of belonging- 3 distinct modes 1. Engagement – active involvement in mutual processes of negotiation of meaning -threefold process including conjunction of the ongoing negotiation of meaning, the formation of trajectories, and the unfolding of histories of practice 2. Imagination – creating images of the world and seeing connections through time and space by extrapolating from our own experience - Not confined to mutual engagement (ex. Reading narrative and placing oneself in others’ shoes) 3. Alignment – coordinating our energy and activities in order to fit within broad structures and contribute to broader enterprises -not confined to mutual engagement (ex. We Are Penn State)
  35. 35. Communities of Practice Identification and negotiability Our identities have tension between our investment in various forms of belonging and our ability to negotiate the meanings that matter in those context. Identity formation is thus a dual process.  Identification is one half, providing experiences and material for building identities through investment of the self in relations of association and differentiation  Negotiability, the other half, is just as fundamental because it determines the degree to which we have control over the meaning in which we are invested. (the ability, facility, and legitimacy to contribute to, take responsibility for and shape the meanings that matter within a social configuration) negotiability Economies of meaning Ownership of meaning
  36. 36. Communities of Practice Identification and negotiability Dual nature of identity must be considered  Dual nature of power  Dual nature of belonging
  37. 37. Communities of Practiceidentity identification negotiability communities structure economies of meaning Figure 9.1. Social ecology of identity identities of participation Identities of non- participation mode of belonging identities of participation identities of non participation close circle of friends doing everything together experience of boundaries through a faux-pas engagement having one’s ideas adopted Marginality through having one’s ideas ignored affinity felt by the readers of a newspaper prejudice through stereotypes imagination vicarious experience through stories assumption that someone else understands what is going on allegiance to a social movement submission to violence alignment persuasion through directed experience literal compliance as in tax returns Forms of membership Ownership of meaning
  38. 38. Communities of Practiceidentity identification negotiability communities structure economies of meaning Figure 9.1. Social ecology of identity identities of participation Identities of non- participation mode of belonging identities of participation identities of non participation experience of boundaries through a faux-pas engagement having one’s ideas adopted affinity felt by the readers of a newspaper imagination vicarious experience through stories assumption that someone else understands what is going on allegiance to a social movement alignment persuasion through directed experience literal compliance as in tax returns Forms of membership Ownership of meaning
  39. 39. Communities of Practice How would you design the communities of practice? How to participate What to reify To make better Communities of Practice How would you contribute to yourcommunities of practice? How to engage collectively CommunitesofPractice
  40. 40. Communities of Practice Thank You! CommunitesofPractice

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