The paper address the need to develop a theoretical framework able to grasp how engagement in work form certain conditions for workers to meet the obligation to form a pro-active learner identity, position themselves as educable subjects and engage in lifelong learning. An obligation that has becomes prevalent in transnational and national policies on lifelong learning and spread to other policy areas as lifelong learning are being perceived as essential means in other welfare policies e.g. employment policy and social policy. The main argument in the paper is that it is necessary to comprehend work situations as crucial spaces for learning and for the continuing development, maintenance or transformation of identity. Therefore it is necessary to bring work to the forefront of analysis and focus on peoples’ work-life-experiences when trying to understand how they perceive themselves, their life situation and how they formulate their life strategies e.g. how they orientate toward different learning activities and form certain learner identities. The paper outline how the relation between work and identity can be conceptualised and provide a theoretical framework enabling researchers within the field of lifelong learning to be sensitive to the significance of specific historical, social and material work practices when examining learner identities. First I argue that the hegemonic consensus about the necessity of lifelong learning calls for an increased attention to the different condition people have to comply with the demand for engagement in lifelong learning. Secondly I argue, that peoples’ engagement in work must be considered essential when wanting to understand and examine how learner identities are formed, maintained or even transformed throughout peoples’ life course. Then I present and discuss how Archer’s critical realist approach and her concepts of personal identity, natural, practical and social concerns (Archer 2000, 2003) and how Salling-Olesen’s life-historical approach rooted in critical theory (2002,2007) can contribute to the understanding of the relation between work and Identity. Based on Archer’s and Salling-Olesen’s concepts I finally outline a theoretical framework enabling researchers to understand and examine the dialectical nature of learner identities, formed through peoples on-going engagement in specific historical, social and material work practices.
læringsidentitet; kritisk realisme; kritisk teori
Main Research Area:
2nd International Conference of ESREA’s Research Network Working Life and Learning, 2014