CV Kirstin Berit Jäggi-Jorns
With the assumption that flexibility emerged as a “key concept of social change since the 1970s and the 1980s” on one hand, and that the decisive „flexibilization potential“ lies in people on the other, flexibilization in biographical terms and thus education comes into focus. This is because education contributes fundamentally to „producing knowledge about the modern self and thus constituting the universal 'modern self' […]“. In this process, schooling as the institutionalized process of education take on a central role in the configuration of social and subject relations. Ideas of how this should be shaped are based on specific speculative visions of the future, which in their plurality are in competition with each other, struggle for validity, prevent each other or exclude each other. Configurations of the future are therefore a powered affair and the representation of the future itself ultimately becomes a social construction of reality. This also applies to the configuration of vocational education and training, which is supposed to prepare for the working world of tomorrow and thus already has the anticipation of the future in its mandate. Against this backdrop, the central research interest is to identify the subjectivization of flexibilization in future designs within vocational education and training. Particular attention is paid to the 1970s. In the context of debates about flexibilization, deregulation, risk society, neoliberalization or autonomization, „lifelong learning“ was propagated at that time as an answer to a situation perceived as precarious and – later on, e.g. since the 1990s –, has been seen as a solution approach for individual adaptations in global economic competition8. Lifelong learning was thus stylized as a “panacea” for society’s risk situations which was collectively prescribed but was to be applied by each individual9. This endeavor led to the development and expansion of further education measures within the framework of vocational training in the sense of a flexible "just-in-time” qualification. The education policy program of lifelong learning can thus be understood as the subjectivization of social problems in the “new capitalism”.
Based on the assumption of a plurality of references to the future, the interest focuses in the first step on the subject matter and the modes (expectation, design, risk or preservation) in which the future is formulated13. In the second step, the images and narratives that are referred to within the subjectivization of flexibilization will be identified. The Swiss Federal Law on Vocational and Professional Education and Training of 1930, the first (1963), the second (1978) and the third revision (2002) serve as the source corpus. They will be analyzed as an expression of future configurations, which will reveal the changes in ‘future action’ (Zukunftshandeln). The paper, which is a first analysis within the framework of a larger project, thus pursues the goal of tracing presented ideas of subjectivization of flexibilization in designs for the future that have found expression in Swiss VET laws since 1930.
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