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Expertise, learning, and agency in partnership practices in services for families with young children

1.3 Learning, knowledge and agency
Paper in a Symposium (Symp)
9:45 AM, Friday 1 Sep 2017 (15 minutes)
The concepts of common knowledge, relational expertise, and relational agency are put to work in understanding services that support families with young children at risk. Their partnership approaches reject didactic, expert-led models and instead promote negotiated ways of working with clients. A cultural-historical analysis, using Edwards’ three key concepts, frames this work under broader theorisations of resilience and agency, and more specifically helps to pinpoint how positive change for families emerges through complex, collaborative knowledge work. I argue that partnership involves professionals working on an ‘intra-mediated problem of practice’ where common knowledge, relational expertise, and relational agency are all brought into explicit focus. This enables partnership approaches to be more fully specified, articulating a strong role for professional expertise and ongoing learning in practice, while maintaining clear contrast with expert-led models.
University of Technology Sydney