Using Biographical and Life History Approaches in the Study of Adult and Lifelong Learning: European Perspectives
Edited By Linden West, Peter Alheit, Anders Siig Anderson and Barbara Merrill
7 Professional Identities, Subjectivity, and Leaming: Be(com)ing a General Practitioner
7 Professional Identities, Subjectivity, and Leaming: Be( com)ing a General Practitioner Henning Salling Olesen This chapter brings an example of the life history approach to professional identity and professional learning, or more broadly the subjective aspects of professions. The Roskilde Life History Project studies learning across a number of educational and other contexts l . Theoretically we organize our research around subjectivity and the mediations between societal context and subjective processes of learning and identity. The general perspective is to develop critical empirical research into learning, which seems to be of utmost centrality in a ' knowledge society' (Salling Olesen, 2002a; 2004b) . I have chosen to illustrate with examples from just one empirical study because concrete interpretation is the best way to illustrate our approach in the brief format allowed in this book. Kirsten Weber' s article in this book provides another example. The example here i s from a study of professional identity and learning of general practitioners2 • Other studies deal with nurses, engineers, teachers, and similar studies on a number of white-collar special ist workers (Salling Olesen, 200 I a; 200 I b; 2002c; 2003 ; 2004a; Weber & Salling Olesen, 2002, and a number of PhD dissellations publ ished only in Danish). Quite often, especially outside education, the challenge has been to convince readers about the importance of subjective aspects of learning. This can be assumed to be a shared vision in this book. Instead I can concentrate on methodological questions about the interrelation between theorising and concrete interpretation....
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