Lave & Wenger Legitimate Peripheral Participation Practice, Person, Social World

Lave, J., & Wenger, E. (1998). Situated learning: Legitimate peripheral participation. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Chapter 2: Practice, Person, Social World

Internalization of the Cultural Given

·      Learning as internalization is too simplistic of a conceptualization. "Furthermore, learning as internalization is too easily construed as an unproblematic process of absorbing the given, as a matter of transmission and assimilation (p. 47)." Internalization = assimilation and indicates that learning occurs in isolation.


Participation in Social Practice

·      "In contrast to learning as internalization, learning as increasing participation in communities of practice concerns the whole person acting in the world (p. 49)." Learning is therefore not simply a cognitive act but rather a way of being.

·      Social learning theory = learning is relational.

·      "Briefly, a theory of social practice emphasizes the relational interdependency of agent and world, activity, meaning, cognition, learning, and knowing. It emphasizes the inherently socially negotiated character of meaning and the interested, concerned character of the thought and action of persons-in-activity. This view also claims that learning, thinking, and knowing are relations among people in activity in, with, and arising from the socially and culturally structured world (pp. 50-51)."

·      "Participation is always based on situated negotiation and renegotiation of meaning in the world (p. 51)." I would add that this idea confirms the social and relational nature of learning in that negotiation cannot occur in isolation; it requires a second entity and conversation as characteristics of occurrence. I also wonder what role perception plays in the negotiation. How the participants perceive their status in the community as well as the types and levels of the conversation would impact the level of participation as well as the individual's identity, which in turn would impact their participation. It seems as if this process is very cyclical.


Participation & Identity.png


·      "...understanding and experience are in constant interaction - indeed, are mutually constitutive (pp. 51-52)."


The Person and Identity in Learning

·      Learning = participation

·      Learning = construction of identity

·      "In this view, learning only partly - and often incidentally - implies becoming able to be involved in new activities, to perform new tasks and functions, to master new understandings. Activities, tasks, functions, and understandings do not exist in isolation; they are part of broader systems of relations in which they have meaning (p. 53)."

·      "Viewing learning as legitimate peripheral participation means that learning is not merely a condition for membership, but is itself an evolving form of membership (p. 53)."

·      "We conceive of identities as long-term, living relations between persons and their place and participation in communities of practice (p. 53)."


The Social World

·      "Legitimate peripheral participation refers both to the development of knowledgeably skilled identities in practice and to the reproduction and transformation of communities of practice. It concerns the latter insofar as communities of practice consist of and depend on a membership, including its characteristic biographies/trajectories, relationships, and practices (p. 55)."

·      Identity formation with regard to sustained participation in a community of practice:

Entrance as a new comer (arrow towards) Old timer in the eyes of new new comers (arrow towards) eventual transition to old timer

·      "Because of the contradictory nature of collective social practice and because learning processes are part of the working out of these contradictions in practice, social reproduction implies the renewed construction of resolutions to underlying conflicts (p. 58)."

·      The benefit of social reproduction: "They leave a historical trace of artifacts - physical, linguistic, and symbolic - and of social structures, which constitute and reconstitute the practice over time (p. 58)."