Understanding unskilled work as a certain condition for perceiving oneself as an educable subject
The paper examines how unskilled work forms conditions for meeting the obligation to position oneself as an educable subject and engage in formal learning activities. Sensitivity to peoples’ work-life-experiences is necessary to understand their orientation toward different learning activities. The main argument is that participation research must abandon the notion of motivation as an individual attribute and apply a dialectic concept of learner identity acknowledging work-life as a pivotal space for learning and formation of identity. I outline how a work-life-historical approach combining a critical theoretical approach inspired by Salling- Olesen’s and Archer’s concepts of identity and concerns can contribute to an understanding of the relationship between work and learner identity. Through narrative work-life interviews I examine how engagement in unskilled work in small and medium sized Danish enterprises causes a multitude of different and ambiguous immediate experiences and concerns pivotal for the workers’ learner identities.