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Constructing the adult learner : a governmentality analysis
2006 (English)Doktorsavhandling, sammanläggning (Other academic)
Abstract [sv]

Syftet med denna avhandling är att studera hur den vuxna studerande konstrueras genom olika styrningstekniker inom Vuxenutbildning, Folkbildning och Högre utbildning. Vidare är syftet att analysera vad för styrningsrationalitet som både skapas genom och som skapar dessa praktiker. Det teoretiska ramverket är baserat på Michel Foucaults begrepp styrningsrationalitet (governmentality) och genealogi. Styrningsrationalitet syftar på ett specifikt sätt att se på styrning där fokus är på de tankar/mentaliteter som skapas genom olika diskurser om hur styrning skall utövas. Centrala frågor är: vad är styrningsproblematiken, vad ska styras, hur skall styrning gå till och vad är målet med styrning? Genea-logi syftar på ett specifikt sätt att se på historien. Utgångspunkten är de tankefigurer som är del av dagen diskurser, i denna avhandling diskurserna om vuxenutbildning och livslångt lärande. Vad består dessa diskurser och vad för härkomsthistoria har vissa av dess tankefigurer? Historia ses här som icke-linjär beståendes av brott och oregelbundenheter där syftet inte är att berätta en historia om framsteg där kausala samband är centrala. Istället använder jag genealogi för att destabilisera det vi idag tar för givet gällandes den vuxna studerande. En diskursanalys har genomförts av offentliga utredningar (SOUs och Ds) från 1920-talet fram tills idag som handlar om de praktiker som nämnts ovan. Resul-taten pekar på att en neoliberal styrningsrationalitet dominerar dagens diskurser om vuxenutbildning och livslångt lärande. Enligt texterna måste Sverige och Europa se till att alla dess medborgare konstant lär sig nya saker som ett sätt att möta en osäker och ständigt föränderlig framtid. Därmed skapas den vuxna som ständigt lärandes och som ett kompetent subjekt. Alla medborgare måste bli autonoma, själreglerande människor som konstant lär sig och som konstant gör val i enlighet med sina önskningar. För att konstruera sådana subjekt skapas flera tekniker för styrning såsom vägledning, risk, målstyrning/granskning, bedömning, mångfald m.m.

Abstract [en]

The aim of this dissertation is to study how the adult learner is constructed through dif-ferent techniques of governing in the practice of adult, liberal adult, and higher educa-tion. Further, the aim is to analyse what rationality of governing such governing practices create and are created by. The theoretical framework is based on Michel Foucault’s concepts of governmentality and genealogy. Governmentality refers to a specific way of viewing questions of governance where the focus is on ideas concerning how governing should be practiced. These ideas are constructed through discourse. Central questions are: what is the problematic of government, what is to be governed, how is governing to be practiced and what is the teleos (the goal to be reached) of government? Genealogy refers to at specific way of viewing history. The starting point is the figures of thought that are part of the discourses of today. In this dissertation, these discourses are adult education and lifelong learning. What are these discourses made up of and what is the descent and emergence of some of its figures of thought? Here, history is seen as non-linear and containing ruptures and irregularities. The aim is not to tell the story of how it really was, where causality is central. Instead, genealogy is a way for me to destabilize the taken-for-granted ideas of the present concerning the adult learner. A discourse analysis has been conducted based on official documents produced since the 1920s and up to the present day concerning the practices mentioned above. The results point to neo-liberal governmentality dominating the discourses of adult education and lifelong learning today. According to the texts, Sweden and Europe need to make sure that all their citizens are constantly learning as a way of facing an uncertain and constantly changing future. Thus, the adult learner is constructed as a constantly learning and competent subject. All citizens have to become autonomous, self-regulating humans who are constantly learning and who constantly make choices according to their inner desires. Several techniques of governing such as guidance, risk, auditing, assessment, diversity, etc., are constructed as a way of constructing such a subject.

Place, publisher, year, pages
Institutionen för beteendevetenskap, 2006.
Series
Linköping Studies in Education and Psychology, ISSN 1102-7517 ; 106
Keyword [en]
lifelong learning, adult education, adult learner, governmentality, genealogy, policy analysis
Keyword [sv]
livslångt lärande, vuxenutbildning, den vuxna studerande, styrningsrationalitet, governmentality, genealogi, policy analys
National Category
Pedagogy
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-6231 (URN)91-85497-47-9 (ISBN)oai:DiVA.org:liu-6231 (OAI)
Public defence
2006-05-05, Eklundska salen, Hus I, Campus Valla, Linköpings universitet, Linköping, 13:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note
On the day of the public defence date of the doctoral thesis the status of article III was: Accepted; The status of article IV was: Submitted.Available from2006-04-05 Created:2006-04-05 Last updated:2009-02-19
List of papers
1. New wine in old skins: Changing patterns in the governing of the adult learner in Sweden
Open this publication in new window or tab >>New wine in old skins: Changing patterns in the governing of the adult learner in Sweden
2005 (English)In: International Journal of Lifelong Education, ISSN 0260-1370, Vol. 24, no 1, 71-86Artikel i tidskrift (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This paper investigates students' initial encounters with the seminar as a working form in higher education. The main interest was to explore how the communication pattern, the aim of the seminar and meaning were negotiated. The results originate from an ethnographic field study where we followed a group of students in a Masters program in Social Science during their first five weeks. Data were analyzed from a socio-cultural perspective and the concepts of participation and reification. We found that there was an implicit negotiation of the communication pattern, what to discuss and the function of the seminar. In these processes, the students and teacher participated in the negotiation of meaning. Different objects were created through a reification process, around which the negotiation of meaning took place.

Keyword
Adult education, Sweden, Foucault, Governmentality, Genealogy
National Category
Social Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-12536 (URN)10.1080/026037042000317356 (DOI)
Note
Original publication: Andreas Fejes, New wine in old skins: Changing patterns in the governing of the adult learner in Sweden, 2005, International Journal of Lifelong Learning, (24), 1, 71-86. Copyright © Taylor & Francis Group, an informa businessAvailable from2008-09-12 Created:2008-09-12 Last updated:2009-05-13Bibliographically approved
2. Recognition of prior learning as a technique for fabricating the adult learner
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Recognition of prior learning as a technique for fabricating the adult learner : a genealogical analysis on Swedish adult education policy
2005 (English)In: Journal of education policy, ISSN 0268-0939, Vol. 20, no 5, 595-613Artikel i tidskrift (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article focuses on the recognition of prior learning and the figure of thought it represents in Swedish policy on adult education. It can be seen as a technique for governing the adult learner and a way of fabricating the subject. We are tracing this thought back in time to see how it has changed and what it consists of. The material analysed consists of Swedish official documents published between 1948 and 2004. We draw on two concepts from the Foucauldian toolbox: genealogy and governmentality. The result shows that this technique for governing and fabricating the adult subject is not new. It has been present during all periods analysed. However, there is a difference in how the ideas of competence and knowledge are stressed. Today the focus is on the subject's specific experience, which means competence. You are constructed as an adult with experiences that are to be evaluated. During the 1960s and 1970s the focus was rather on general experience. There was also discussion concerning the subject's ability to study. During the 1950s this figure of thought focused on ability was dominant. Those with the talent/ability to study were to be accepted for adult education.

National Category
Pedagogy
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-12535 (URN)10.1080/02680930500222436 (DOI)
Note
Original publication: Per Andersson and Andreas Fejes, Recognition of prior learning as a technique for fabricating the adult learner: a genealogical analysis on Swedish adult education policy, 2005, Journal of Education Policy, (20), 5, 595-613. Copyright © Taylor & Francis Group, an informa business Available from2008-09-12 Created:2008-09-12 Last updated:2014-10-08
3. The Planetspeak Discourse of Lifelong Learning in Sweden: What is an Educable Adult?
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The Planetspeak Discourse of Lifelong Learning in Sweden: What is an Educable Adult?
2006 (English)In: Journal of education policy, ISSN 0268-0939, Vol. 21, no 6, 697-716Artikel i tidskrift (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article focuses on the idea of the educable adult subject in Sweden and the ways this idea has re-emerged in different practices during the twentieth century. It's a policy analysis where official documents from the twentieth century and early twenty-first century concerned with adult education in Sweden are analysed based on the Foucauldian notion of governmentality. The results show that the idea of the educable adult subject has been present during the major part of the twentieth century. But there are differences in how it is inscribed into the practices. The main difference is that the educable subject today is created in relation to a new rationality of governing where it is governed and constructed through its own choices and actions instead of through institutions based on knowledge produced by the social sciences and experts. Further, the ambition today is that everyone should be included in lifelong learning. At the same time, these ambitions also create exclusion. What happens to those who cannot or do not want to participate in lifelong learning? I argue that such practices of inclusion/exclusion are present in all the documents analysed, but that today, this practice has taken a specific shape.

National Category
Social Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-12534 (URN)10.1080/02680930600969266 (DOI)
Note
Original publication: Andreas Fejes, The Planetspeak Discourse of Lifelong Learning in Sweden: What is an Educable Adult?, 2006, Journal of Education Policy, (21), 6, 697-716.Copyright © Taylor & Francis Group, an informa businessAvailable from2008-09-12 Created:2008-09-12 Last updated:2009-03-03Bibliographically approved
4. European citizens under construction
Open this publication in new window or tab >>European citizens under construction : the Bologna process analysed from a governmentality perspective
2008 (English)In: Educational Philosophy and Theory, ISSN 0013-1857 (print) 1469-5812 (online), Vol. 40, no 4, 515-530Artikel i tidskrift (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article focuses on problematizing the harmonisation of higher education in Europe today. The overall aim is to analyse the construction of the European citizen and the rationality of governing related to such a construction. The specific focus will be on the rules and standards of reason in higher education reforms which inscribe continuums of values that exclude as they include. Who is and who is not constructed as a European citizen? Documents on the Bologna process produced in Europe and in Sweden are analysed drawing on the Foucauldian notion of governmentality, showing a neoliberal rationality of governing. The European citizen needs to become flexible, autonomous and self-regulating as a way of facing the threats of the constantly changing future. The technique of diversity is a condition of possibility for constructing such a citizen and for harmonising higher education in Europe. Further, the current power relations in the discourse define what is and what is not European, thus constructing 'the other', the one who is excluded.

Keyword
governmentality, Europe and higher education, Bologna process, policy analysis
National Category
Social Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-13814 (URN)10.1111/j.1469-5812.2007.00362.x (DOI)
Note
The definitive version is available at www.blackwell-synergy.com: Andreas Fejes, European citizens under construction – the Bologna process analysed from a governmentality perspective, 2008, Educational Philosophy and Theory, (40), 4, 515-530.http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1469-5812.2007.00362.x. Copyright: Blackwell Publishing www.blackwell-synergy.comAvailable from2008-11-12 Created:2008-10-17 Last updated:2009-04-27Bibliographically approved

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