1st Edition

Learning and Work and the Politics of Working Life
Global Transformations and Collective Identities in Teaching, Nursing and Social Work

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ISBN 9780415557535
Published January 20, 2010 by Routledge
248 Pages

USD $52.95

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Book Description

Large scale changes in work and education are a key feature of contemporary global transformations, with a pervasive politics that affects people’s experiences of workplaces and learning spaces.

This thought-provoking book uses empirical research to question prevailing debates surrounding compliance at work, education and lifelong learning, and emphasises the importance of debate and dissent within the current terms and conditions of work. Examining a number of types of work, including teaching, nursing and social work, through a transnational research space, the contributors investigate how disturbances in work both constrain and enable collective identities in practical politics.

Structured around three main themes, the book covers:

  • Disturbed work: with cases of occupational reform in nursing and vocational teaching in Finland and re-regulating work in Australia
  • Disturbing work: examining contested occupational knowledge in German school to work transitions, paraprofessional healthwork in the UK, social work in Finland, and mobilising professional expertise in US Community College faculty and Australian adult literacy
  • Transforming politics: negotiating an ageing workforce in Germany, young adults moving through identities and careers, building a politics of ‘we’ through a global book project


An enlightening collection of international contributions, this book will appeal to all postgraduate students, researchers and policy makers, in education, work, and lifelong learning.

Table of Contents

Introduction- Disturbing work and transforming politics, Terri Seddon, Lea Henriksson and Beatrix Niemeyer  1. Disturbing Academic Work: Theorising a global book project Terri Seddon, Lea Henriksson and Beatrix Niemeyer  Part 1 – Reconfiguring occupational orders  2. Human Service Labour Force in the Making: Spotlight on Finnish practical nurses Lea Henriksson  3. Disputing Managerial Architecture in Educational Work: Irony as a liberating strategy for Finnish vocational teachers Karin Filander  4. Disturbing Work, Workspaces and Working Lives: Three Australian case studies Anita Devos, Lesley Farrell and Terri Seddon  Part 2 – The politics of expertise  5. Reconstructing US Community College Faculty: Mobilising professional expertise Richard L. Wagoner, John S. Levin and Susan Kater  6. German School to Work Transition Programs: ‘Disturbing work’ for educators Beatrix Niemeyer  7. Paraprofessional Development in the UK: Ambivalences and contradictions Chris Kubiak  8. Finnish Redefinitions of the ‘Social’ in Social Work: An eroding ethical discourse Päivi Niiranen-Linkama   9. Adult Literacy Teaching in Australia: Rethinking occupational knowledge Sue Shore  Part 3 – Navigating work-learning careers  10. An Australian Worker Navigating Precarious Work and Fluid Subjectivity John Pardy  11. Employers Coping with Their Aging Workforce in East Germany Rudolf Husemann  12. Young Adults’ Career Prospects and Aspirations in East Germany and the US Antje Barabasch  Coda  13. A Politics of Working Life Frigga Haug

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Terri Seddon is Professor of Education at Monash University, Australia, and Director for Work and Learning Studies.

Lea Henriksson is Docent in Social Policy and an Academy of Finland Research Fellow at the University of Tampere, Finland.

Beatrix Niemeyer is Docent (PD) in Educational Science and Senior Researcher at the Institute of Vocational Education, University of Flensburg, Germany.


"This thought provoking book, written in an accessible style, will be of value to social workers, educationalists and health care professionals. Contributions are made from an international arena including Finland, Germany, Australia, UK and the USA."  - Megan Thomas, International Journal of Lifelong Education, 2012