Differentiating knowledge, differentiating (occupational) practice

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This paper extends arguments for differentiating knowledge into conceptualisations of occupational practice. It is argued that specialised forms of knowledge and practice require recognition and differentiation in ways that many contemporary approaches to practice theory deny. Drawing on Hager’s interpretation of MacIntyre, it is suggested that occupational practices are differentiated from non-occupational practices by their ‘purposiveness’, and by how their internal and external goods relate. Furthermore, we can differentiate within the category of occupational practices by (i) the character and extent of specialised knowledge that underpins the practice, and by (ii) how socio-epistemic and institutional conditions shape how knowledge is recontextualised within the practice. This leads to an outline differentiation between forms of specialised and non-specialised occupational knowledge and practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)453-469
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Vocational Education and Training
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2016


  • curriculum innovation
  • Learning in the professions
  • philosophy of VET
  • vocational education & training
  • workplace learning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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