Mobilizing workplaces: actors, discipline and governmentality


Edwards R & Nicoll K (2004) Mobilizing workplaces: actors, discipline and governmentality. Studies in Continuing Education, 26 (2), pp. 159-173.

Drawing on the work of Foucault, and to a lesser extent actor‐network theory, this article examines some of their methodological and theoretical implications for conceptions of workplace learning. We suggest that workplaces need to be examined for the spatio‐temporal ordering of practices and the actors drawn into them in order to move beyond the totalizing discourses of, for instance, the knowledge economy, globalization, performativity and even workplace learning itself. We argue that there is no single trajectory for workplaces and that pedagogic practices are embedded in the actor‐networks of specific workplaces. This is illustrated by way of a critique of discourses that posit a simple move from disciplined, Fordist work to more flexible forms of work. In this way, we seek to locate discussions of workplace learning within the wider debates in the social sciences about changing practices of governing and the differing forms of subjectivity associated with them. The article is intended to be illuminative and is theory driven.

Studies in Continuing Education: Volume 26, Issue 2

Publication date31/07/2004
PublisherTaylor and Francis