The concept of "communities of practice" (Lave and Wenger 1991, Wenger 1998) has become influential in education, management, and social sciences in recent years. This volume emphasizes the significance of language, power, and social context in understanding how communities of practice work. Domains of empirical research reported include schools, police stations, adult basic education, higher education and multilingual settings. The relationship between communities of practice and literacy studies, critical language studies, the ethnography of communication, socio-cultural activity theory, and sociological theories of risk is also evaluated.
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.