Professional pedagogies of parenting that build resilience through partnership with families at-risk: a cultural-historical approach

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Pedagogy, Culture and Society, 2016, 24 (4), pp. 599 - 615
Issue Date:
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© 2016 Pedagogy, Culture & Society. The importance of pedagogic practices in addressing major social problems is increasingly acknowledged. This is especially so in areas of work not traditionally understood in pedagogic terms, such as services for vulnerable families with young children. Policy mandates for change in relationships between professionals and clients have challenged conventional notions of professional expertise, intensifying and expanding the pedagogic dimension of such work. This paper examines professional–parent interactions, adopting a cultural-historical approach focused on mediation, everyday and scientific concepts, and the space of reasons. Analysis reveals four distinct activities: locating and orienting change, creating new meaning for change, change through joint live action, and planning for change. Each involves different objects and ways in which professional expertise is brought to bear in pedagogic work. It is argued resilience-building works by helping parents learn to interpret and act in their worlds differently, using cultural tools from professional expertise made available through pedagogic work. The paper provides new insights into the importance of professional expertise in these practices at a time when this is in question.
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