- Dec 2021
In this study, we drew on sociocultural notions of agency – where individual actions are entwined with community goals. A community is comprised of people with shared and individual goals, in their environments, in the midst of a historical context (Wenger 1998Wenger, E. 1998. Communities of Practice: Learning, Meaning, and Identity. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press. [Crossref], [Google Scholar]). Due to this web of relationships with people, environment, and history, people do not act autonomously, but according to possibilities within the community. Such possibilities for agency are negotiated over time; actions that strengthen ties to the community constitute investments in the self that in turn, have outcomes for the community as well (Peirce 1995Peirce, B. N. 1995. “Social Identity, Investment, and Language Learning.” TESOL Quarterly 29: 9–31. doi:10.2307/3587803. [Crossref], [Web of Science ®], [Google Scholar]). The financial metaphor in using the word investment is critical – it connotes spent effort that yields dividends. These dividends emerge immediately and over time.
This helps me consider communities of practice, and unpacking the relational aspects - agency within a context, not autonomous, informed by the context and others. Is there a tension with "groupthink", how to value the diversity in a group, and build stronger not weaker, not defaulting or regressing to a mean?. How do we build a group to be more than the sum of the parts. how does the community work to enhance practice.