Extract from: Education in Changing Environment 13

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Extract from:

Education in Changing Environment 13th-14th September 2004

Conference Proceedings

Partnering Practices And The Complexities Of Collaboration: A Case Study In Curriculum Development

Mike Doyle, m.doyle@salford.ac.uk

Discourses of collaboration and partnership prevail in public policy, and the research of these issues is theoretically limited and often framed normatively and uncritically within prevailing discourses. In attempting to access practices of partnering this paper uses an ‘interventionist’ research strategy (from cultural-historical activity theory) to obtain data on initial conceptualisations of collaborators on an emerging curriculum (a Foundation Degree), and how they articulate and prioritise its subsequent development. This involves contextualising the emerging practice within the different discourses that partners bring to the process, as well as evaluating how the articulation of partners’ practices influences the prioritising of interpretations, and subsequent implementation. The paper offers a reflective critique of the analytical framework in this context, and comments on how it might be developed to facilitate more detailed analysis.


The purpose of this paper is to explore an example of the process of partnering within a theoretical framework of Activity Theory, and to evaluate the utility of the theory in this process.

The structure of the paper involves a brief outline of the context for the partnership studied, followed by a brief summary of the literature on partnerships and collaboration. It then provides a theoretical framework for the analysis of the data, which is based on constructivist theories of social practice. The methodology is summarised, and after the data is analysed, the theoretical framework is evaluated. Implications for practices of partnership are then considered.

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