Intersecting work and learning: assembling advanced liberal regimes of governing workers in Australia

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Journal Article
Studies in Continuing Education, 2008, 30 (3), pp. 199 - 213
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Much had been written over the past few years on the intersections of work and learning. This article suggests that the analysis of the intersections of work and learning can benefit greatly from understanding the ways in which governing workers as individuals and populations has changed in Western liberal democracies in the latter part of the twentieth century. Through the use of an analytics of government perspective based on the later governmentality work of Foucault and others, the article analyses the shifts in ways of governing paid workers through the programmes of reforms in industry, industrial relations and vocational education and training in Australia. These shifts can be understood, it is suggested, as shifts in the mentalities of governing - from social liberal regimes to advanced liberal regimes of government. The article foregrounds the assembling of a new subjectivity and character of the post-industrial paid worker - the 'worker as learner' as the lifelong learner who is continually required to reskill to maintain paid work in economic life in order to sustain desirable and normal lifestyles. The article concludes with a discussion of the implications for researching work and learning.
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