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Performing Inter-Professional Expertise in Rural Advisory Networks

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Jeremy Phillipson, Dr Amy Proctor, Dr Steven Emery, Professor Philip Lowe



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


In this paper we draw on in-depth research to explore inter-professional working in rural land and livestock management and introduce the novel concept of inter-professional expertise. An increasingly intricate regulatory framework, the diversification of the economic base of rural areas away from primary commodity production and a growing emphasis on environmental protection and ecosystem services mean that the management of land and livestock are becoming more complex in their objectives, more demanding of specialised technical knowledge and skills and more rule-bound in their procedures and processes. To assist them in meeting these challenges, farmers and other land managers turn to a growing array of rural professional advisers. Increasingly the achievement of private and public objectives for rural businesses depends upon the integration of a variety of specialised expert inputs. So, alongside pressures to differentiate the specialised knowledge they have to offer, rural professionals face demands to work together to help clients solve complex problems and deliver multiple objectives. It follows that rural land and livestock management present a rich context in which to explore the dynamic relationship between different types of professional experts. As a departure from the strong tradition of farmer-centred research examining extended knowledge networks in rural settings, we therefore explore the working relations between advisors themselves. Using concepts of relational agency and socio-material approaches we identify the skills and strategies involved in this inter-professional communication and working, with relevance to expert-expert interactions and the negotiation of contemporary professional expertise in fields far beyond the provision of rural services. We find that it is in the ways that experts perform, act and interact in the field that professional expertise and, by extension, inter-professional expertise - is realised and practised. Thus as working practices are increasingly shared, credentialism is pursued less by achieving the monopolies of old and more by striving for new monopolies of inter-professional practice.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Phillipson J, Proctor A, Emery S, Lowe P

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Land Use Policy

Year: 2016

Volume: 54

Pages: 321-330

Print publication date: 01/07/2016

Online publication date: 04/03/2016

Acceptance date: 17/02/2016

Date deposited: 21/03/2016

ISSN (print): 0264-8377

ISSN (electronic): 1873-5754


DOI: 10.1016/j.landusepol.2016.02.018


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Funder referenceFunder name
ES/J01057X/1Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)
RES-229-25-0025Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)