14 April 2010


I've been reading Wenger's 1998 book--Communities of Practice. The following two passages at the end of book's treatment of practice struck me as profound:

From p. 141: “What can be called knowledge, therefore, is not just a matter of local regimes of competence; it depends also on the orientation of these practices within broader constellations. Yet, whatever discourses we use to define what knowledge is, our communities of practice are a context of mutual engagement where these discourses can touch our experience and thus be given new life. In this regard, knowing in practice involves an interaction between the local and the global.”

From pp. 141, 142: “Our knowing, even of the most unexceptional kind, is always too big, too rich, too ancient, and too connected for us to the source of it individually. At the same time, our knowing—even of the most elevated kind—is too engaged, too precise, too tailored, too active, and too experiential for it to be just of a generic size. The experience of knowing is no less unique, no less creative, and no less extraordinary for being one of participation. As a matter of fact, on the face of it, it would probably not amount to much otherwise.”


PENolan said...

I get jazzed about stuff like this too - primarily from Vygotsky's ideas on enculturation in early childhood - since I spend my days with two year olds. It's interesting to observe enculturation at work in little kids' play particularly when they are trying to find meaning in adult roles, but when you consider how the Texas Taliban is overtly pushing the curriculum, it's pretty alarming.

Karlo said...

I'm glad to hear that I'm not the only one interested in this sort of thing! As for Texas, I think that some of the Republican hotheads down there need some major scaffolding to cross the zone of proximal development and join the rest of society in understanding that the earth is more than 2000 years old and that reality's a little more complicated than they had hoped.