Specialised, systematic and powerful knowledge

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This paper starts with a comment on the recent article by John White published in volume 17 Issue 3 of the LRE entitled ‘The End of Powerful Knowledge’, and particularly the point made about specialised knowledge and its relation to powerful knowledge. It is argued here that it is important to clarify the distinction between specialised knowledge, systematic knowledge and what Young and Muller (2013) mean by powerful knowledge, as while these are related they are not equivalent. Not all specialised knowledge is codified and systematised, and not all systematic specialised knowledge is necessarily powerful. It is suggested that some of the characteristics attributed to powerful knowledge by Young and Muller, in particular ‘systematic revisability’ and its enactment in specialised communities, are crucial for understanding what they mean by powerful knowledge.
Original languageEnglish
JournalLondon Review of Education
Publication statusAcceptance date - 16 Jun 2020


  • specialised knowledge
  • systematicity
  • powerful knowledge

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