Reflection 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


Learning is a social endeavor and cannot and should not be separated from the context in which it occurs. Learning is participation within the community. Members of the community include old timers, new comers, and near-peers. Other views of learning include learning to be internalization, which lends itself to considering learning as a passive, cognitive act of assimilation or reception. Lave and Wenger argue that learning can and should not be viewed in such a manner; in fact, learning is more complex than this oversimplification called internalization. Instead, members learn through their participation, and through their participation they impact the learning of the other members of the community who are learning through their participation. Learning, participation, and community are all fluid and evolving entities, completely unable to stagnate. Communities of practice also engage in social reproduction, which is the preservation of ideas and artifacts. However, I would argue that even though social reproduction can and does occur, it cannot occur as mimicking the exact dispositions, actions, ideas, and artifacts as before because the participation of its members are constantly evolving it. (My thoughts - resistance would be a vehicle for preservation, but only absolute resistance could result in a stale mate. I would argue though that even in a stale mate, it would be impossible for evolution to not occur even on the minutest level. Simply having the conversation through the participation is enough of an evolutionary act.