Changing Cultures of Knowledge and Professional Learning

  • Monika NerlandEmail author
  • Karen Jensen
Part of the Springer International Handbooks of Education book series (SIHE)


This chapter examines the relationship between knowledge cultures and professionals’ learning in education and work. An overarching question is: What roles do knowledge cultures play as constitutive arenas for professional learning and development? The chapter reviews theoretical and empirical contributions to this topic, focusing on how the relationship between knowledge cultures and learning has been addressed in research on higher education and in the context of professional work. Strengths and weaknesses from different research strands are discussed, and it is proposed that analytical resources from the Social Studies of Science may be helpful for capturing this relationship as dynamic and emergent in practice. Drawing especially on the perspectives of Karin Knorr Cetina, we present findings from two larger Norwegian research projects, where different ways of organizing knowledge and supporting practitioners’ continuing learning are compared and discussed as differences in professional knowledge cultures. A premise for this discussion is that professional learning today should be understood in relation to wider ecologies of knowledge and practice, and that the continuing enrolment of practitioners in a profession-specific field of knowledge is a critical condition for participation.


Knowledge cultures Epistemic objects Epistemic practices Fields of expertise Professions 


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EducationUniversity of OsloOsloNorway

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