Relational architectures: Recovering solidarity and agency as living practices in education

Christine Edwards-Groves, Roslin Brennan Kemmis, Ian Hardy, Petra Ponte

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

22 Citations (Scopus)


This article will explore education, pedagogy and praxis (morally informed and committed action oriented by tradition, and 'history-making action') through the lens of the 'relational'. The article brings together empirical investigations of professional development and classroom teaching to explicate the role of this relational dimension, via the concept of 'practice architectures'. The first section describes what is meant by the term practice architectures and introduces the notion of 'relational architectures' as a vehicle for understanding the crucial role relationships in education, including interpersonal relationships (between actors in social settings) and institutional relationships (within systems and organisations). The second section tests this notion of relational architectures by examining it in light of the day-to-day, living practices in cases of educational practice. The third section defends a position that education is compromised wherever the relational dimension in educational practice is not properly addressed, that failure to attend to the relational may empty education of its moral and social purpose. Further, failure to attend to the relational also threatens agency and solidarity among participants in those practices. In our view, restoring focus on the relational dimensions of education will sustain future educational and societal growth, and provide resources of hope for educators: a sense of cohesion of purpose, commonality of direction (solidarity), and a sense of collective power and control (agency).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)43-54
Number of pages12
JournalPedagogy, Culture and Society
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 01 Mar 2010

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