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

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Abstract

Using narrative inquiry 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. Although the participants are not representative of the whole range of youth services practitioners, they do give a spread of experiences and roles, whilst allowing the research to capture the richness of each of the individual practitioner’s experience and the affordances of their developing “narrative capital.” A particular feature of this study is this richness of experiences and the multi-layered nature of the participants’ 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, as are the affordances of personalised narrative capital.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Interdisciplinary Social and Community Studies
Volume10
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015

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© Common Ground, Mark Price, All Rights Reserved

Keywords

  • Narrative Capital
  • Professional Identity
  • Praxis

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