Referring back to the discussion of Paul Revere, I want to extend my comment about Revere as a broker to include him as a peripheral participant with multimembership on a boundary trajectory.According to Wenger, boundary trajectories are a form of trajectory that find their value in spanning boundaries and liking communities of practice. Sustaining an identity across boundaries, she says, is one of the most delicate challenges of this kind of brokering work (p. 154).Relating the example of Paul Revere's ride, as presented in The Tipping Point, to Wenger's notion of boundaries and brokers in chapters 3/4 in Communities of Practice, a strong connection seems to exist by which we can identify Paul Revere as a broker. As a broker, Paul Revere acted as an information trader who held a position of authority, yet who did not fully belong to the communities of practice the (his)story highlights. In other words, Revere was not a member of the political elite, or (necessarily) a member of communities of practice to whom he communicated warnings along his ride. Yet, as the story suggests, he operated at the boundaries of these communities; facilitating information exchange between them. To accomplish this facilitation, Revere did not have to be a member of the communities (as Wenger would define membership), he just needed to be aware of the essential peripheral nodes (i.e. the communities' information diffusers) to tap into and offload the information; letting them do the rest of the work, so he could move on to do his. However, his success as a messenger in communicating to townspeople of the imminent danger (i.e. the British invasion) is apparent, and it was more so than his counterpart Dawes. Perhaps then, Revere's success in this suggests that he was in fact a member of many different communities of practice whose affiliate members were the people he had contact with at various points along his route. Positioning Revere as a member of many communities of practice who was invested enough in them to be trusted by them and autonomous enough to move among them so that his message could link them seems a more likely explanation of his success than accrediting it solely to his political savvy, for instance.
Paul Revere was a Peripheral Participant with Multimembership on a Boundary Trajectory
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