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Chapter 9 - Unpacking Social Articulation of Agency

Vexed Questions for Responsive Professional Action

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  23 November 2023

Nick Hopwood
University of Technology, Sydney
Annalisa Sannino
Tampere University, Finland
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The concept of ‘agency’ demands theorization that captures the dynamic (in-motion) and collective nature (motive orientation) of practice. This chapter follows Edwards’ conceptualisation of relational agency and Stetsenko’s critique of grand narratives of agency, viewing agency as central to relational and transformative practice. Methodologically, the chapter argues in favour of researching incomplete practices in their making or formation rather than complete, fossilised, best practice examples. Data from the initial teacher education programme and teacher sharing meetings show how motive orientation for transformative and responsive professional action takes shape among teachers. It is argued that agentic action is historical and located in the collective system of practice. The findings of the study also put more weight behind arguments that understanding agentic action demands more interrogation of the ‘why’ and ‘where to’ questions of practice; that is, unpacking the ‘motion’ and ‘motive orientation’ of the practice.

Agency and Transformation
Motives, Mediation, and Motion
, pp. 209 - 229
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2023

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