Five questions of skill

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35 Citations (Scopus)


Somewhere out there, perhaps in fields of cognitive or educational psychology, there may still be scholars who remain convinced that skill is the poor relation of knowledge, that its acquisition is ‘merely’ imitative, that it resides in the body rather than the mind and that its application is more or less automatic, running from sensory input to motor response while bypassing the realms of thought or imagination. In the light of the contributions assembled here, and the substantial literature on which they draw – mainly from human geography, sociocultural anthropology and sociology – we can, I think, take this view of skill to have been comprehensively refuted. There is no need to rehearse the arguments over again. We recognise that skill is the ground from which all knowledge grows, that ‘imitation’ is shorthand for processes of attunement and response of great subtlety and complexity and that skilled practice entails the working of a mind that, as it overflows into body and environment, is endlessly creative. I shall treat these points as read. These contributions, however, raise further questions that are not yet fully resolved, and I should like to round off by highlighting five of them and suggesting how they might be addressed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)159-163
Number of pages5
JournalCultural Geographies
Issue number1
Early online date21 Apr 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018


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