Community of Practice

Introduction

The concept of “communities of practice” is of relatively recent date. The concept gained momentum with Jean Lave and Etienne Wenger’s book from 1991, Situated learning: Legitimate peripheral participation. Since then, the notion of “communities of practice” has been a focus of attention, not least in debates about learning, teaching, and education but also in debates about organizational theory, knowledge management, and work-life studies. The latter development accelerated with Wenger’s later book Communities of Practice (Wenger, 1998), but also picked up fuel from neighboring texts by – amongst others – Paul Duguid and John Seely Brown (1991) and Julian Orr (1996). The concept of communities of practice offers a dynamic and non-individualistic framing of learning as a social and situated activity oriented towards participation in social practice. From this also springs a number of interesting observations about human agency, cooperation, organization, and com...