Główna treść artykułu


In this paper, two new and one established researcher (from Germany, Italy, and the UK) dialogue about researching professional biographies in education. The authors seek to build on a personal and scientific conversation to illuminate the critical and reflexive epistemological potential of particular perspectives in challenging the constraints of neoliberal discourses in education. The doctoral studies of the new researchers illuminate the limited conceptualisations of professionalism, shaped by dominant discourses pervading higher, adult and early childhood education.
The two new authors explore similarities and differences in their work, including research questions, theoretical frameworks, methodologies, empirical data and interpretation. Biographical interviews and co-operative inquiry are used to collect stories about professional identity and ways of knowing.
A common finding is that professionalism encompasses deeply personal dimensions in what is a complex conscious and unconscious, cognitive and emotional dynamic. Professionals can feel subjected to external standards and disempowered by constant audit and they must negotiate who they are within these parameters. The exploration of the interplay of past and present spheres of uncertainty fundamentally challenges technocratic and instrumentalist discourses and illuminates the diverse ways of knowing implicated in being a good enough creative and questioning professional. The authors conclude by arguing for a holistic re-conceptualisation of professionalism, as necessarily both personal and professional; and they conceive ‘reflexive irritation’ to be a site of epistemological struggle in this regard. There is also a discussion on related methodological and ethical issues.

Słowa kluczowe

Professionalism and professionalization, education, neoliberalism, auto/biographical research, reflexivity Professionalism and professionalization, education, neoliberalism, auto/biographical research, reflexivity

Szczegóły artykułu

Jak cytować
Rothe, A., del Negro, G. ., & West, L. (2022). The professional is personal, the personal is professional? Towards re-conceptualising professionalism: a scientific and personal dialogue. Dyskursy Młodych Andragogów/Adult Education Discourses, (22), 231-246. https://doi.org/10.34768/dma.vi22.598


  1. Alheit P. (2018), The concept of “biographicity” as background theory of lifelong learning?, “Dyskursy Młodych Andragogów/Adult Education Discourses”, Vol. 19, pp. 9-22.
  2. Alheit P. & Dausien B. (2002), The ‘double face’ of lifelong learning: Two analytical perspectives on a ‘silent revolution’, “Studies in the Education of Adults”, Vol. 34, pp. 3-22.
  3. Apitzsch U., Bornat J. & Chamberlayne P. (2004), Introduction, in: Biographical methods and professional practice. An international perspective, P. Chamberlayne, J. Bornat & U. Apitzsch (eds.), The Policy Press, Bristol, pp. 1-15.
  4. Bainbridge A. & West L. (2012). Psychoanalysis and education: minding the gap, London, Karnac.
  5. Belenky M.F., Clinchy B.M., Goldberger N.R. & Tarule J.M. (1986), Women’s ways of knowing: the development of self, voice and mind, BasicBooks, New York.
  6. Bertaux D. (1981), Biography and society: The life history approach in the social sciences, Sage Publications, Beverly Hills.
  7. Biesta G.J. (2015), Good education in an age of measurement: Ethics, politics, democracy, Routledge, London.
  8. Bogdanich B. & Forsythe W. (2019), How we have reported on the secrets and power of McKinsey and company, “New York Times. Times Insider”, February 26, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/19/reader-center/mckinsey-hedge-fund-reporting-investigation.html, 12.11.2020.
  9. Borges J.L. (1964), The circular ruins. in: Labyrinths: selected stories and other writings, D.A. Yates & J.E. Irby (eds.), Penguin Books, London, pp. 72-77.
  10. Bullough R., Knowles G. & Crow N. (1998), Emerging as a teacher, Routledge, London.
  11. Chamberlayne P. (2004), Biographical methods and social policy in European perspective, in: Biographical methods and professional practice. An international perspective, P. Chamberlayne, J. Bornat & U. Apitzsch (eds.), The Policy Press, Bristol, pp. 19-38.
  12. Charlot B. (1997), Du rapport au savoir: éléments pour une théorie, Anthropos, Paris.
  13. Clarke A., Hanson E.J. & Ross H. (2003), Seeing the person behind the patient: Enhancing the care of older people using a biographical approach, “Journal of Clinical Nursing”, Vol. 12, pp. 697-706.
  14. Dewey J. (1896), The reflex arc concept in psychology, “The Psychological Review”, Vol. 3, pp. 357-370.
  15. Didion J. (1979), The white album, Simon & Schuster, New York.
  16. Dominicé P. (2007), Educational biography as a reflective approach to the training of adult educators. in: Using biographical and life history approaches in the study of adult and lifelong learning: European perspectives, L. West, B. Merrill, P. Alheit & S. Anderson (eds.), Peter Lang, Frankfurt a. M., pp. 242-254.
  17. Fabbri D. & Formenti L. (1991),Carte d’identità: Verso una psicologia culturale dell’individuo,Franco Angeli, Milano.
  18. Fabbri D. & Munari A. (1990),Cultural psychology. A new relationship with knowledge, “Cultural Dynamics”, Vol. 3, pp. 327-348.
  19. Fook J., Collington V., Ross F., Ruch G., & West L. (2016), Researching critical reflection, multidisciplinary perspectives, Routledge, London.
  20. Formenti L. & West L. (2018), Transforming perspectives in lifelong learning and adult education: a dialogue, London, Palgrave MacMillan.
  21. Fraser W. (2018), Seeking wisdom in adult teaching and learning: An autoethnographic inquiry, Palgrave McMillan, London.
  22. Furlong J. (2005), New labour and teacher education: The end of an era, “Oxford Review of Education”, Vol. 31, pp. 119-134.
  23. Gewirtz S., Mahony P., Hextall I. & Cribb A. (eds.) (2009), Changing teacher professionalism: international trends, challenges and ways forward, Routledge, New York.
  24. Goffman E. (1961/1973), Asyle. Über die soziale Situation psychiatrischer Patienten und anderer Insassen, Suhrkamp, Frankfurt a. M.
  25. Goodson I. (2017), The rise of the life narrative, in: The Routledge international handbook on narrative and life history, I. Goodson, A. Antikainen, P. Sikes & M. Andrews (eds.), Routledge, New York, n. p.
  26. Goodson I., Antikainen A., Sikes P. & Andrews M. (eds.) (2017), The Routledge international handbook on narrative and life history, Routledge, New York.
  27. Gunaratnam Y. (2003), Researching ‘race’ and ethnicity: Methods, knowledge and power, Sage Publications, London.
  28. Heron J. (1996), Co-operative inquiry: research into the human condition, Sage Publications, London.
  29. Hooley T., Sultana R. & Thomsen R. (eds.) (2018), Career guidance for social justice: contesting neoliberalism, London, Routledge.
  30. James W. (1950), The principles of psychology, New York, Dover.
  31. Laing R.D. (1967), The politics of experience and the bird of paradise, Penguin Books, London.
  32. Lyotard J.-F. (1984), Le differénd, Les editions de minuits, Paris.
  33. Maturana H.R. (1990), The biological foundations of self-consciousness and the physical domain of existence, in: Beobachter. Konvergenzen der Erkenntnistheorien?, N. Luhmann et al. (eds.), Wilhelm Fink Verlag, München, pp. 47-117.
  34. Mead G.H. (1903), The definition of the psychical, in: The decennial publications, University of Chicago (eds.), University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago, pp. 77-112.
  35. Mead G.H. (1934/2013), Mind, self & society from the standpoint of social behaviourist, Heptagon, Berlin.
  36. Merrill B. & West L. (2009), Using biographical methods in social research, London, Sage.
  37. Moloney M. et al. (2019), Resisting neoliberalism: Professionalisation of early childhood education and care, “International Journal of Elementary Education”, Vol. 8, pp. 1-10.
  38. Monbiot G. (2016), Neoliberalism – the ideology at the root of all our problems, “The Guardian”, April 15, https://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/apr/15/neoliberalism-ideology-problemgeorge-monbiot, 25.06.2020.
  39. Munro E. (2011), The Munro review of child protection. Final report. A child-centred system,London, Department of Education.
  40. Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills (2019), Early years inspection handbook for Ofsted registered provision, Ofsted, Manchester, https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/828465/Early_years_inspection_handbook.pdf, 31.10.2020.
  41. Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (2006), Starting strong II. Early childhood education and care, OECD Publishing, Paris, http://www.oecd.org/edu/school/startingstrongiiearlychildhoodeducationandcare.htm, 25.06.2020.
  42. Phillips A. (2012), Missing out: in praise of the unlived life, Hamish Hamilton, London.
  43. Reid H. & West L. (eds.) (2014), Constructing narratives of continuity and change: a transdisciplinary approach to researching lives, Routledge, London.
  44. Richardson L. (1997), Fields of play: constructing an academic life, Rutgers University Press, New Brunswick.
  45. Rothe A. (2019), Professionalität und Biografie: Eine qualitative Studie zur Bedeutung biografischer Erfahrungen für die professionelle Identität frühpädagogischer Fachkräfte, Beltz Juventa, Weinheim.
  46. Rothe A. & Betz T. (2018), Biografische Erfahrungen und die Professionalität frühpädagogischer Fachkräfte. Theoretische und empirische Perspektiven auf ein ungeklärtes Verhältnis, “Zeitschrift für Grundschulforschung“, Vol. 11, pp. 285-300.
  47. Schütze F. (1983/2016), Biographieforschung und narratives Interview. in: Sozialwissenschaftliche Prozessanalyse. Grundlagen der qualitativen Sozialforschung, W. Fiedler & H.-H. Krüger (eds.), Budrich, Opladen, pp. 55-73.
  48. Schütze F. (1994), Strukturen des professionellen Handelns, biographische Betroffenheit und Supervision, “Supervision”, Vol. 26, pp. 10-39.
  49. Schütze F. (2007), Biography analysis on the empirical base of autobiographical narratives: How to analyze autobiographical narrative interviews – Part I + II. in: INVITE – biographical counselling in rehabilitative vocational training – Further Education Curriculum, S. Betts, A. Griffiths, F. Schütze & P. Straus (eds.), http://www.uni-magdeburg.de/zsm/projekt/biographical/1/B2.1.pdf, 25.06.2020.
  50. Stephens D. (2017), Narrative and life history research in international education. Re-con cep tualisa tion from the field, in: The Routledge international handbook on narrative and life history, I. Goodson, A. Antikainen, P. Sikes & M. Andrews (eds.), Routledge, New York, n. p.
  51. Sullivan H.S. (1953), The interpersonal theory of psychiatry, W.W. Norton & Company, New York.Vandenbroeck M. (2020), Measuring the young child: on facts, figures and ideologies in early childhood, “Ethics and Education”, Vol. 15, pp. 413-425.
  52. Vintimilla C.D. (2014), Neoliberal fun and happiness in early childhood education. “Canadian Children”, Vol. 39, pp. 79-87.
  53. West L. (2001), Doctors on the edge: General practitioners, health and learning in the inner-city, Free Association Books, London.
  54. West L. (2009), Really reflexive practice: auto/biographical research and struggles for a critical reflexivity, in: Beyond reflective practice. New approaches to professional lifelong learning, H. Bradbury, N.Frost, S. Kilminster & M.Zukas (eds.), Routledge, London, pp. 66-80.
  55. West L. (2016a), Critical reflection? Auto/biographical narrative enquiry and illuminating professional struggles in distressed communities. in: Researching critical reflection, multidisciplinary perspectives,J. Fook, V. Collington, F. Ross, G. Ruch & L. West (eds.), Routledge, London, pp. 119-132.
  56. West L. (2016b), Distress in the city: racism, fundamentalism and a democratic education, Trentham/UCL Press, London.
  57. Winnicott D.W. (1971), Playing and reality, Psychology Press, London.