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Title: Schooled in the work ethic
Other Titles: Career guidance for emancipation : reclaiming justice for the multitude
Authors: Rawlinson, Mark
Rooney, Steve
Keywords: Work ethic
Social justice -- Vocational guidance
Career development
Vocational guidance -- Philosophy
Issue Date: 2019
Publisher: Routledge
Citation: Rawlinson, M., & Rooney, S. (2019). Schooled in the work ethic. In T. Hooley, R. G. Sultana & R. Thomsen (Eds.), Career guidance for emancipation : reclaiming justice for the multitude (pp. 200-215). London: Routledge.
Abstract: This chapter imagines some practical ways in which we might encourage higher education (HE) students and teachers to engage more critically with notions of ‘employability’. Although based on our experiences of teaching and supporting learning in UK HE, the context for the chapter (an intensified orientation of HE towards the perceived needs of the socalled knowledge economy, based on a hegemonic discourse of ‘human capital’ development) has been observed globally (Naidoo, 2010; Sum & Jessop, 2013; see also the chapters by Alexander and by Bergmo-Prvulovic in Career Guidance for Social Justice). As such, it is hoped that what follows will resonate beyond a country where neoliberalism has, since the global financial crisis of 2008, taken on what Davies (2016) terms as a chiefly ‘punitive’ character. With capitalism incapable of producing ‘profitable alternatives to the current, broken model of . . . accumulation’ (p. 133) the term ‘neoliberalism’, Davies explains, has come to describe certain critique-averse processes in which people are subjected to often wilfully cruel forms of (self-)discipline. The disciplinary-ideological nature of neoliberalism is particularly pertinent to those of us working in tertiary education—a sector whose global state-sponsored expansion in recent years has been predicated on what are often vastly over-simplified promises of enhanced prosperity and professional fulfilment for those who make the ‘investment’ (Brown, Lauder, & Ashton, 2011; Tholen, 2014). An important question for educators, in other words, is: If the ‘return-on-investment’ case for HE participation turns out to be at best a profoundly misleading one, then what (and whose) work are we doing when we implore our students to attend to their employability? Acknowledging the term ‘employability’ is itself a complex and contested one (Artess, Hooley, & Mellors-Bourne, 2017; see also the chapter by Buchanan in Career Guidance for Social Justice), it is important also to note that this chapter is decidedly not a rejection of the proposal (as articulated, for example, by UK Higher Education Academy’s [HEA, 2015] Framework for Embedding Employability in Higher Education) that the HE curriculum be a space in which students engage with questions concerning their employability and career development. Nor is it a disavowal of our collective responsibilities to enable students to lead purposeful and fulfilling lives beyond graduation. On the contrary, it takes up the suggestion of Artess et al. (2017) that the approaches advocated by the HEA’s aforementioned framework actually open possibilities for educators to ‘inhabit this [employability] agenda and imbue it with more radical and critical content’ (p. 16). What the chapter seeks to address specifically is how, by what means and in what contexts students might come to encounter such content.
ISBN: 9781138087439
Appears in Collections:Career guidance for emancipation : reclaiming justice for the multitude

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