Becoming a Youth Practitioner: A Narrative Study of Personalized Constructions of Professionalism and Professional Identity Formation

By Mark Price.

Published by The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social and Community Studies

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Using narrative enquiry as a methodological basis, this study explores the co-construction process in professional identity formation for youth services practitioners. This investigation contributes to the articulation of what it means to become a professional and the role of higher education in facilitating this process. The research aims are furthered through repeated, extended (60-90 minutes), in-depth, discursive interviews, emails, and developed narratives with six professionally qualified practitioners. Whilst the six participants are not representative of the whole range of youth services practitioners, they do still give a spread of experiences and roles, whilst allowing the research to capture the richness of each of the individual practitioner’s experiences. The key feature of this study is the richness of the practitioners’ experiences and the multi-layered nature of their individually constructed, professional identities. Rather than identifying themselves as belonging to a community of practitioners, with commonly held norms, knowledge, and practices, greater emphasis is placed on a more individual, personal-professional selfhood. In particular, the value placed on critical practice underpinned by a commitment to "right action" and social good is a central emerging theme.

Keywords: Interdisciplinarity, Professional Identity, Praxis

The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social and Community Studies, Volume 10, Issue 2, June 2015, pp.1-12. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 434.137KB).

Mark Price

Assistant Head of School, School of Education, University of Brighton, Brighton, East Sussex, UK