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Making the Lisbon strategy happen: A new phase of lifelong learning discourse in European policy?
Växjö University, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, School of Education.
2009 (English)Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

ABSTRACT European educational policy on lifelong learning has undergone great changes during the last three decades to become a highly complex phenomenon with several internal and external actors involved. The discourse of lifelong learning has undergone great changes, from its initial engagement when it was a matter of social and humanitarian issues as outlined in the early documents of UNESCO, to emphasising lifelong learning as a moral and individual obligation in a more competitive and market-oriented language. In a European context this language of competition to a large extent derives from the vocabulary set out by the Lisbon strategy where competition is a key theme. A policy trajectory that has taken the discourse from an initial phase of great social visions to a second phase focusing on the need for self-regulated and morally responsible citizens. Recent research on the topic indicates that we are now standing at the threshold of a discursive shift where action instead of visions is at stake. Against this background I would like to ask if there is evidence enough to suggest that European policy on lifelong learning is now experiencing a discursive shift into what could be described as a new phase? And if so, how could such a shift be described and what are the implications at an individual level? I take my theoretical point of departure in Habermas`s theory of communicative action using as analytic tools his concept of system and life-world as representations of different rationalities. I use critical discourse analysis as a methodological framework in order to understand how the rationalities bound to the concepts of system and life-world become visible through different actors and actions in the policy discourse of lifelong learning. A number of research reports and policy documents on lifelong learning recently published within the European Union have been read and analysed. The analysis of the empirical material points to a direction where it is relevant to speak about a new "phase" of lifelong-learning discourse emerging in European policy, characterised by the urgent need for implementation. In this paper a tentative conceptual framework is presented as to how this new, action-oriented "phase" can be understood. The policy trajectory of lifelong learning is not to be understood here as a linear development where one phase follows another in a well-defined manner. Instead it is seen as an ongoing discursive struggle where different concepts over time replace each other as fundamental for the discourse and its actors in the new phase represented by concepts such as "crisis" and "implementation".

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2009.
Keywords [en]
European Union, lifelong learning, policy, discourse
National Category
Pedagogy
Research subject
Pedagogics and Educational Sciences, Pedagogics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:vxu:diva-5758OAI: oai:DiVA.org:vxu-5758DiVA, id: diva2:233874
Conference
ECER 2009 “Theory and Evidence in European Educational Research” Vienna University 28 - 30 September 2009
Available from: 2009-09-03 Created: 2009-09-03 Last updated: 2014-05-12Bibliographically approved

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Nordin, Andreas

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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

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Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
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  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf