Understanding and researching professional practice is crucial both to enhancing the quality of professional learning and to improving professional education more generally. Yet professional practice remains something that is little known, theoretically and philosophically, despite a longstanding interest in what might be called the meta-field of professional practice, learning and education.
The contributors to this book, drawn from fields such as education, allied health, psychology and business, explore different aspects of practice in the professions, professionalism, and research. This includes engaging with the burgeoning literature on practice theory and philosophy, including the increasingly influential neo-Aristotelian tradition, and taking account of growing interest in practice thinking across contemporary scholarship. It considers issues such as the primacy of practice, the nature of professional judgement, the role of ‘experience’, ethics, context, and the practitioner standpoint. As such, it raises important and timely questions about practice ontologies, epistemologies and methodologies, and also praxis and politics. This is especially needed in a context otherwise increasingly organised by neoliberalism, economic rationality, anxious managerialism, and what some see as a general drive towards de-professionalisation and new nuances and intensities of regulation.
The book will likely speak, across education, health and professional studies more generally, to all who remain committed, in increasingly stringent and difficult times, to finding ways of thinking anew about their work as practitioners and researchers. A richly informed resource for those engaged in researching practice and practising research, it will inform praxis and inquiry alike.