Tacit Knowledge and Discourse Analysis

Tacit Knowledge and Discourse Analysis

Michele Zappavigna-Lee (University of Sydney, Australia) and Jon Patrick (University of Sydney, Australia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59140-553-5.ch483
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Much of human experience is below-view, unattended to as we operate in the world, but integral to our performance as social creatures. The tacit knowledge involved in our practice allows us the experiential agility to be at once efficient and creative, to assimilate the novel and the familiar: in essence, to develop expertise. The possessors of skilful practice, the artisan, the witchdoctor or the physician, have occupied a position of both importance and mystery in most cultures since ancient times. Our interest over the ages in such hidden knowledge has caused us to mythologise expertise, placing it beyond the common by constructing it as unspeakable. Thus, in contemporary times it is not surprising that the dominant research perspective on tacit knowledge maintains that it is ineffable, that is, tacit knowledge cannot be understood by looking at what and how people communicate verbally. Indeed the word tacit has its origins in the Latin, tacitus, meaning silent.

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