Vocational knowledge – Regions and recontextualisation capability

Research output: Chapter or section in a book/report/conference proceedingChapter or section


This paper focuses on the constitution of vocational knowledge, and the development of an analytical framework that seeks to identify and characterise how that knowledge is constituted. Bernstein’s concept of a ‘region’ is outlined as a socio-epistemic entity into which various aspects of disciplinary knowledge are ‘recontextualised’ to meet the requirements of practice. This leads to a discussion of both the ‘internal’ social relations that exist between organisations involved in recontextualisation, and the ‘external’ factors that influence the character of regions, including relations between occupations and the broader macro-context pertinent to vocational practice. Issues of ‘recontextualisation capability’ are considered particularly important for understanding the nature of regions. While it is possible to conceive this capability at a variety of ‘levels’ or in relation to various activities, how knowledge achieves validity in the vocational community and provides a basis for a curriculum is particularly foregrounded here. The discussion is bolstered with examples of regions and recontextualisation processes taken from recent studies of higher apprenticeships in England between 2012 and 2014. In addition, there is some brief engagement with comparative research into vocational education and training systems in order to better understand how differing national contexts and policy-driven change may (re)orientate regions and their capacity to recontextualise.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationVocational Education and Training in Times of Economic Crisis
PublisherSpringer Nature
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-319-47856-2
ISBN (Print)978-3-319-47854-8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2017

Publication series

NameTechnical and Vocational Education and Training
ISSN (Print)1871-3041
ISSN (Electronic)2213-221X


  • Disciplinary knowledge
  • Human resource management
  • Human resource management practice
  • Knowledge structure
  • Vocational education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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