Participatory practices at work
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This paper discusses workplace participatory practices -- the reciprocal process of engaging in and learning through work. The reciprocity between the affordance of the workplace (its invitational qualities) and individuals' engagement in the workplace is proposed as a means of understanding how learning through work proceeds. How workplaces invite individuals or cohorts of individuals to participate in and learn through work can be understood in terms of how they are afforded opportunities to engage in activities and interactions that are central to the values and practices (i.e. continuity) of the work practice. These affordances are shaped by workplace norms, practices and affiliations (e.g. cliques, associations, occupational groupings, employment status) and are often characterised by contestation and inequitable distribution. Access to opportunities for practice, and therefore learning, is directed towards sustaining the work practice and/or the interests of particular individuals and groups. Nevertheless, how individuals engage in and learn from work is also shaped by their agencies, which are a product of their values, subjectivities and identities. These reciprocal processes of participation in workplaces are illuminated through an analysis of the micro-social processes that shape the participatory practices of three workers over a six-month period -- a union worker, a grief counsellor and a school-based information technology consultant. The findings illuminate the bases for participation, performance and learning for each of the three workers.
Pedagogy, Culture and Society
Copyright 2004 Taylor & Francis : The author manuscript version of this article will be available 18 months after publication. This journal is available online - use hypertext link.