Discourse, practice and power in adult learning reform in England and Wales, 2000-2014

Lillis, Finbar (2016) Discourse, practice and power in adult learning reform in England and Wales, 2000-2014. DProf thesis, Middlesex University.

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Abstract

This analysis of the exercise of power in and behind some of the important discourses in adult learning reform in England and Wales, 2000-2014, examines how the early narrowing of the concept of what constituted (publicly funded) lifelong learning – controlled through increasing entralisation
of adult learning reform discourses - was to affect the conduct and course of described adult learning reforms, through the exercise of centripetal government power - and outlines some implications for current adult learning reform discourses.

The author adapts an approach outlined in ‘Technologies of Truth’ (Heikinenn, et al. 2012) to reveal one distilled ‘catalogue of possibilities’ from ‘KPS’ analyses of ‘Knowledge’, ‘Power’ and ‘Subject’ relations, within the discourse of each ‘Public Work’ report recontextualised for this doctoral study; analyses the operation of (individual and institutional) subjects within those discourses and how discoursal subjects were constituted; calls on Foucault and Fairclough’s thinking and approaches to discourse analysis and on Blommaert’s work on ‘scales’ (Blommaert 2006), ‘indexicality’,
‘stratification’ and ‘text and context’ (Blommaert 2005) to further subject the results of KPS analysis to detailed questions concerning the discourses and their control.

‘KPS’ analysis shows repeated, observable patterns of discoursal control: Government (and those in its orbit), constrained the adult learning reform discourses described, ‘‘centering’ control over each discourse, narrowly circumscribing and stratifying lifelong learning and who should be publicly
funded to pursue it; with contrasting government positions and approaches to establishing qualifications frameworks in Wales and England.

What does this analysis mean for understanding how discourse in adult learning reform is controlled now? The author suggests (at least) a detailed analysis of recent and current discourses associatedwith Apprenticeships in England, scrutiny of key texts and guidance documents, further adapting the (Heikinenn, et al. 1999) approach, using ‘linguistic technique to answer social-scientific questions’ (Blommaert 2005: 237).

Item Type: Thesis (DProf)
Research Areas: A. > Work and Learning Research Centre
B. > Theses
Item ID: 20806
Depositing User: Users 5077 not found.
Date Deposited: 24 Oct 2016 16:44
Last Modified: 05 Sep 2018 18:32
URI: http://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/20806

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