New book out: ethnography of professional learning and parenting pedagogy

A day that has been a long time coming: I finally received the hard copies of my new book “Professional Practice and Learning: TNick PPLimes, Spaces, Bodies, Things”, published with Springer. It is part of the Professional and Practice Based Learning series, edited by Stephen Billett, Christian Harteis, and Hans Gruber.

The book is a major work, based on my ethnographic study of professional services for parents with young children at risk. Fieldwork as conducted at Karitane‘s Residential Unit in Carramar, Sydney. The research was funded as part of my Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Research Fellowship at UTS.

The reference for the book is (doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-26164-5):

Hopwood N (2016) Professional practice and learning: times, spaces, bodies, things. Dordrecht: Springer. 


Highlights and special features

  • Applies of sociomaterial / practice based approaches in a full ethnographic study
  • Draws both on practice philosophy, and practice-based approaches from organisational learning
  • Develops of unique arguments concerning relationship between practice and learning
  • Provides unique insights into pedagogical role served by professionals in coproductive practices.

This book explores important questions about the relationship between professional practice and learning, and implications of this for how we understand professional expertise. Focusing on work accomplished through partnerships between practitioners and parents with young children, the book explores how connectedness in action is a fluid, evolving accomplishment, with four essential dimensions: times, spaces, bodies, and things. Within a broader sociomaterial perspective, the analysis draws on practice theory and philosophy, bringing different schools of thought into productive contact, including the work of Schatzki, Gherardi, and recent developments in cultural historical activity theory. The book takes a bold view, suggesting practices and learning are entwined but distinctive phenomena. A clear and novel framework is developed, based on this idea. The argument goes further by demonstrating how new, coproductive relationships between professionals and clients can intensify the pedagogic nature of professional work, and showing how professionals can support others’ learning when the knowledge they are working with, and sense of what is to be learned, are uncertain, incomplete, and fragile.

Comments on back cover from leading scholars

“Meticulously researched and at once measured and authoritative, this constitutes an important and innovative contribution to the field. Based on an in-depth ethnographic study, it develops a rich account of practice in action and context, and provides new insight into professional learning and its associated pedagogies. Highly recommended.” Professor Bill Green, Charles Sturt University (Australia)

“This book forms a significant contribution to our understanding of professional practice and learning. It brings together recent sociomaterial approaches, and adds to these in important ways. I strongly recommend this book for scholars and practitioners who take interest in professional work and learning, and in sociomaterial approaches to practice more generally.” Professor Monika Nerland, University of Oslo (Norway)

“This book contributes a distinctive approach to researching workplace learning, specifically learning in professional practice. The ethnographic research that is presented imbues practices, knowledge work and pedagogy with suspense and uncertainty. Hopwood’s style of presentation is both rich and rewarding. This is a book to surprise you and it will.” Professor Silvia Gherardi, University of Trento (Italy)

“This splendid book offers many insights that will be appreciated by a wide range of readers. Hopwood proposes his own thought-provoking framework for understanding the relationships between professional practice and learning. The fruitfulness of Hopwood’s framework is demonstrated in analysis of empirical material derived from a major ethnographic study. Overall, this book is an impressive achievement.” Emeritus Professor Paul Hager, University of Technology Sydney (Australia)


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