Situating Community Safety: Emergent Professional Identities in Communities of Practice

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Community safety has often been studied from an institutional perspective as an important adaptation to late modernity, or from a practice perspective as a set of professional activities that are of especial interest because they are developed across institutional boundaries, through partnerships. This article will introduce Wenger’s communities of practice perspective in order to demonstrate how both of these strands of research need to be understood together. Drawing upon an empirical study of the development and working of community safety partnerships in Scotland it will explore the ways in which professional identities and practices around the concept of community safety have been negotiated through practitioners’ participation in emergent communities of practice that need to be understood within the particular institutional, social and political contexts that frame them. It will be argued that to understand practice as ‘situated’ in Wenger’s terms is to acknowledge the dynamic and mutually constitutive relations that connect institutions and lived experience. Such an analysis suggests that there is much transformative potential in partnerships, and that theorizing on broad national and international trajectories of transformation needs to be tested through the study of locally negotiated practice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)413-31
JournalCriminology & Criminal Justice
Volume12
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2012

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • communities of practice
  • community safety
  • institutions
  • negotiated practice
  • partnerships
  • situated learning

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