Space, curriculum and occupational socialization: theoretical perspectives on professional learning and identity-construction
Welland, Trevor T D
Political, International and Policy Studies University of Surrey Guildford, UK
Studies of professional preparation and socialization aim to explore the formal training programmes and processes of enculturation experienced by ?occupational neophytes? in order to map the range and diversity of expectations of new entrants to a profession. It can be argued that among the many challenges confronting work in this under?researched arena, are the consideration and problematization of the relationships between identities, the settings of occupational preparation and ?professional knowledge?. This challenge is presented by a number of sources. Firstly, much recent empirical and theoretical work that explores some of the settings and processes of professional preparation have indicated that this important field of inquiry has been characterised by a marked negligence of the transmission and management of professional knowledge. These voices propose that any sociologically useful approach to occupational socialization must be equally concerned with interaction (the ?classical? empirical focus on relations among trainees, educators, clients and professional bodies) and with the formal structuring and transmission of knowledge, as well as the arenas and settings of occupational preparation. In addition, a range of theoretical developments can assist in ?making sense? of these often complex relationships between learning for work/occupations and the construction of worker/professional identities. These include Foucault?s notion of ?governmentality? or ?policing of the self? but Bernstein?s theory of curriculum, too, although principally applied to school-based settings and processes, poses a fundamental question in asking ?how are forms of experience, identity and relation evoked, maintained and changed by the formal transmission of educational knowledge and sensitivities?? (Bernstein,1975:85).
This paper assesses the significance of, and opportunities offered to occupational socialization research by these types of theoretical positions and the significance of empirical work in developing more integrated, systematic, theoretical accounts of identity-construction, curriculum and spatiality.