Supporting Lifelong Learning: Making Policy Work
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They neither analyse policy, nor consider policy contexts or implications, or concern themselves with the analysis or critique of contemporary policy issues. These constraints are both produced by and produce an inability to reflexively engage in the relations between the analysis that is possible and the approach used.
For example, lifelong learning emerges in many cases within those countries in which welfare policies have collapsed, and this raises questions about whether a social democratic approach to analysis can be productive. Alternative and more critical analyses exist cf. Hughes and Tight, ; Strain and Field, but these are criticised in that they adopt social democratic approaches to education provision that fail to acknowledge that both learning and society have become 'post' welfare Griffin, b.
They cannot explore the challenge to educational provision and practices wrought through post-industrial societies.
Supporting Lifelong Learning
Griffin ibid. This allows analysis of the activities of social policy as welfare state reform, and of lifelong learning as a social function rather than simply education provision. Lifelong learning, through this reading is bound up with a reconfiguration of the operation of policy and relations between state and civil society within the post-welfare state, or postmodern condition.
A need to find appropriate policy vocabularies for lifelong learning as welfare reform is necessary Griffin, b: Field, For Griffin ibid. Policy analysis within a traditional welfare policy approach considers lifelong learning as an object of policy, and this is inadequate in the analysis of policy as strategy. Lifelong learning is not able to be understood as an object that can be mandated or secured through policy as education can be.
It requires a strategy whereby 'people may be variously persuaded, cajoled, bribed, threatened or shamed into becoming active individual learners: their learning cannot be mandated' ibid. Studies that attempt to measure the degrees to which learning takes place as a result of policy mandate, therefore ascribe to a reductionist model.
Lifelong learning as a measure of participation is contrasted here with an interpretative assessment of the attribution of learning to the learner, in conditions of reflexive modernity. Griffin is calling for analytical or critical perspectives that can make the distinction between a learning society and one that is better educated or trained, and can bring forth new meanings of lifelong learning.
For him, the latter emerges as a function of individual and social life, a feature of postmodern society, and as a policy strategy. The post-welfare state is seen to have a strategic role - in managing markets, choice and autonomy - rather than one of policy formulation: 'the strategy of governments is to create the conditions in which people, families, communities and organizations are most likely to learn for themselves, thus obviating the need for education policy in the traditional sense. This is a characteristic function of governments in post-welfare conditions.
Echoing Griffin, Field identifies lifelong learning as typical of what he calls 'new policy objectives' that require action by civil society rather than implementation by the state. They are 'soft' as they deal with issues that are unable to be directly achieved through agencies of the state.
He distinguishes between traditional policy goals and this new type: 'Reform of vocational education and training, and the extension of initial education, remain legitimate areas for traditional types of policy intervention. Lifelong learning, though, is a much more amorphous policy goal, delivery of which lies largely beyond government's capacities' ibid. Field notes also that within the policy domain itself there is recognition there has been almost no policy implementation measures put in place to make lifelong learning a reality, although it has been central to education policies within many countries.
Arguing that this has not been a result of a lack of political will, or a vision that is empty of content, he suggests this indicates a change in the mode of operation of contemporary governments, which face 'bafflement and uncertainty in the face of complexity, immeasurability and risk' Field, The emergence and operation of lifelong learning as cultural policy, soft policy objective or strategy, its means of operation and consequences have not yet been substantially explored.
A focus on lifelong learning, in these alternative senses offers a means to break away from the dominant institutional focus. In examining the altering states of adult education in lifelong learning policy we are faced with changes in the nature of the state itself, and attempts perhaps by governments to negotiate a way between the market and the state in policy.
Within this context it would seem appropriate to suggest that post-structuralist approaches, which reflexively engage in the relations between the analysis that is possible and the approach adopted, may be useful.
Through these, alternative vocabularies for the analysis of lifelong learning and the learning society within policy analysis may be identified and made productive. The potential for alternative and post-structuralist readings of lifelong learning policy, drawing on the work of Michel Foucault, has been discussed within the policy literature and there has been some analytic work along these lines Edwards and Nicoll, ; Fairclough, ; Wilson, By considering discourses of lifelong learning as a form of power-knowledge alternative readings are forthcoming.
Discourses 'construct certain possibilities of thought. They order and combine words in particular ways and exclude or displace other combinations. We do not speak the discourse.
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The discourse speaks us. By drawing upon meanings of lifelong learning made possible in part through discourses of the altering state of policy, it may be possible to subvert more conventional discourses of policy studies and adult and continuing education. Ball ibid. This is not to suggest that it is policies, their altering state, or limited readings of lifelong learning that require opposition. It is rather that the meanings of lifelong learning become limited because of their accommodation within conventional discourses of policy, education, and research.
By opposing this closing down of potentiality, openings are offered for consideration and potential action. The analysis of meanings of lifelong learning within the paper so far has suggested that it may be productively considered as a soft objective requiring action by civil society Field, , or an interpretative assessment of the attribution of learning to the learner within contemporary contexts of reflexive modernity Griffin, b.
Neither of these writers draw on the work of Foucualt within their analysis. However there are certain productive resonances in so doing. Through a Foucauldian analysis government depends upon knowledge in order that a domain to be governed can be produced: 'Only through language can the ends of government be formulated, by portraying their object as an intelligible field with identifiable limits within which certain characteristics are linked in a systematic manner' Rose, Throughout modernity, governments have drawn upon vocabularies of the human sciences in order that people could be governed and made productive.
Through the language of lifelong learning the civil subject is thus called forth for scrutiny within the public sphere, and is positioned to 'confess' their attributes of learning. Government here does not operate by domination, coercion, or threat, rather 'by educating citizens in their professional roles and in their personal lives - in the languages by which they interpret their experiences, the norms by which they should evaluate them, the techniques by which they should seek to improve them' Rose, ibid.
Lifelong learning could then be considered as a mobilisation of learning into the civil sphere, indicating policy attempts at the extension of systems of governance through education rather than a failure of them. In this case the extent to which lifelong learning will be successful will depend not upon the conventional institutions of education and training, but on the extent to which subjects internalise a normalising gaze, and seek out techniques by which they can improve themselves.
Supporting lifelong learning: volume 3: making policy work
Attempting to bring forth an active civil society and subjectivities eager to engage in lifelong learning in this way may signify an altering mode of governance in attempts to negotiate a way between the market and the state. Lifelong learning can therefore be argued to be a paradigmatic case study of changing approaches to policy to be found in a range of countries, although the extent to which this may be so requires further exploration.
With these alternative meanings of lifelong learning made possible, different approaches to policy studies in this area are necessary - those that can explore the conditions for the emergence of lifelong learning as an object of policy, and the work that it does as power-knowledge may be productive.
Policy here is taken to work in the production, maintenance and reconfiguration of discourses, in order that populations may be governed. Policy is knowledge work - knowledges are drawn upon and constituted authoritatively within policies as speech and writing, and are inserted into discourses in order to maintain relations or effect reconfigurations within them. Archaeology and genealogy are the tools for analysis Foucault, ; archaeology as an historical materialism that posits historical and material conditions as prior to subjects and productive of objects of discourse, and genealogy as the exploration of power-knowledge within systems of governance.
Both provide means to counter dominant relations of power by beginning from a different starting point; archaeology by positing historical and material conditions as prior to the human subject or experience, and genealogy by positing power as implicit within knowledge. Within both the methodological tactic is to elide previous regularities within language and thought. Potter argues that strategies for the production of truth are visible through analysis of the work of rhetoric within language.
These are strategies that attempt to work up the facticity of what is described and undermine what might alternatively be argued. This is an interesting possibility in that it suggests that one might be able to examine policy language for the rhetorical strategies that bring forth lifelong learning, and make it persuasive.
This suggests a quite different form of archaeology, whereby the art of the 'spin' of policy becomes the focus of analysis. Inbunden Engelska, Spara som favorit. Skickas inom vardagar. Laddas ned direkt. Skickas inom vardagar specialorder. This volume of the Open University Reader for Supporting Lifelong Learning looks at policy development in lifelong learning at local, regional, national and supra-national levels. Using an international team of contributors, it explores and examines the policy context for lifelong learning, the policies themselves, and their effects when implemented.
The book focuses on the role of lifelong learning policy in relation to issues of competitiveness, technological change and social inclusion.