A democratic community of practice: unpicking all those words

DePalma, Renee and Teague, Laura. 2008. A democratic community of practice: unpicking all those words. Educational Action Research, 16(4), pp. 441-456. ISSN 0965-0792 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

The No Outsiders research consortium draws upon the Cultural Historical Activity Theory (CHAT) notion of a community of practice with a shared focus on ‘researching approaches to sexualities equality in primary schools’. While the word ‘community’, for some, may carry connotations of harmony and even homogeneity, the project proposal anticipated that much of the project development would emerge from dissensus, rather than consensus. In this paper two participants, the senior researcher and a teacher-researcher, will analyse themes that have emerged through web-based and email discussions among participants over the course of a year focusing on negotiating these kinds of hierarchical relationships among teacher-researchers and university researchers. Rather than providing guidelines for establishing and maintaining a democratic community of practice, we examine the complexities inherent in the process. We argue that the negotiation process itself is a crucial aspect of collaboration, and recommend resisting the temptation to expect these negotiations to minimize dissent and reach compromise.

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sexualities equality; primary/elementary schools; power relations

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Educational Studies


8 April 2008Published

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Date Deposited:

16 Feb 2016 16:57

Last Modified:

27 Jun 2017 09:56

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.



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