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Communities of Practice: Learning, Meaning, and Identity (Learning in Doing: Social, Cognitive and Computational Perspectives) Paperback – 28 Sep 1999

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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press; New Ed edition (28 Sept. 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521663636
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521663632
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.9 x 22.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 32,863 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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'Wenger's book is stimulating, insightful, and challenging.' Journal of Mathematics Teacher Education

Book Description

This book presents a new social theory of learning. As learning becomes a topic of great urgency for nations, businesses, and schools, Communities of Practice presents a broad conceptual framework for thinking about learning as a process of social participation.

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Being alive as human beings means that we are constantly engaged in the pursuit of enterprises of all kinds, from ensuring our physical survival to seeking the most lofty pleasures. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

46 of 46 people found the following review helpful By Charles Smith on 31 July 2002
Format: Paperback
This book presents a clear and thorough exposition of learning, locating it firmly as a social process, and using the concept of the Community of Practice to describe the social structure within which learning takes place.
The basic style of the book - the precision and completeness of its arguments, the care with terminology, the extensive footnotes and bibliography - suggest its primary audience is intended to be academic. However, I recommend it as reading for anyone with an interest in understanding and promoting learning in organizations. I would argue that 90% of the effort expended on training and development in UK companies is ineffective precisely because it ignores the principles set out in this book.
I feel slightly uncomfortable with the intensity of some of the jargon. For example, a word such as 'reification', used to describe the central concept of how abstract ideas are made into something tangible, needs to be translated into something more user-friendly if it is to be used in general conversation.
Nonetheless, an essential read and reference.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Bobby Moon on 23 Jan. 2012
Format: Paperback
Wenger is well know in the socio-cultural fields especially in education. I come from an ethnography background and performing arts fields and it was suggested to me that Wenger and Lave's CoP could offer my research a critical frame. I have to say it is deceptively simple and elegant in fact it is a very useable, accessible provides an excellent framework for my research. CoP basically presents learning as a social process people engage in with other people like plumbers, dancers, politicians and other diverse communities of practice including the AA, tailoring and horse racing. Wenger has his detractors, and they are worth reading, his earlier work is more relevant for academic work though his later work - tailored for the business market - is still poignant. Whereas his long term collaborator and mentor Lave remains in academia and some of her work on situated learning, and their joint work on peripheral learners adds to this read and the concept of Communtities of Practice.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Robertson on 6 Feb. 2012
Format: Paperback
This is to be highly recommended.
Authoritative yet easy to read. Don't be put off by the rather ponderous extended title! This is a classic of research in practice. Practical examples providing ease of insight.
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Format: Kindle Edition
One of the most poorly written books I've read. The entire contents of the book can be summarised in about 4-5 pages (which Wenger actually DID for another journal). Very little relevance to existing theories of learning, never defines learning other than the vague idea of 'engaging in practice to negotiate meaning'. No explicit links to research other than a few references to qualitative interviews Wenger conducted in a single insurance company and two chapters of fictional narrative aiming to represent a day in the life of an employee. Author seems to be well read on education (according to references in the index) yet little or no evidence of this appears in the text. Spends 5 pages explaining why a flower can't join a community of practice.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Nawal on 29 July 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Apart from the fact I kept calling Ettienne Wenger Arsenne, as in the Arsenal manager in academic discussions, this was a great read.
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Format: Paperback
Happy to buy second hand books, but found in the latter part of the book, someone had underlined sections in pen, and wriiten notes on pages.
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