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HSRC Press :: Learning / Work

Learning / Work
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Learning / Work

Turning work and lifelong learning inside out

Linda Cooper, Shirley Walters (eds)

ISBN 100-7969-2283-7
ISBN 13978-07969-2283-0
Publish Year2009
RightsWorld Rights
DescriptionRelated ProductsEmail To A FriendProduct RatingCustomer Reviews

Learning / Work :: Turning work and lifelong learning inside outFree DownloadLearning / Work :: Turning work and lifelong learning inside out
PodcastIn December 2007 the Fifth International Conference on Researching Work and Learning (RWL5) was held in Cape Town, the first time the conference had been held in Africa, and the first time it had convened outside of Europe or Australia.In this podcast, the first of 4 parts, the co-editors of Learning / Work: Turning work and lifelong learning inside out , Dr Linda Cooper and Professor Shirley Walters, introduce themselves and explain the need to examine how we learn and work, and why the conference was an important opportunity to do so.

Duration: 5 min 03 sec


We are living through a daunting yet fascinating period in which the global economy increasingly challenges the accepted dichotomies between home-life and work-life, between employment and unemployment, paid work and unpaid work. This calls for serious analysis of how knowledge is generated, both formally and informally, in workplaces as diverse as the factory, the field, or the street. It raises questions about what forms of learning and training are involved; how they articulate with one another and what practical and theoretical implications this has for our societies.

In this book, 34 leading scholars from 10 countries challenge established understandings of lifelong learning and work, with several arguing that ‘work’ and ‘lifelong learning’ need to be ‘turned inside out’ through a rigorous critique of underlying social relations and practices so that we understand the power relations that shape learning/work possibilities. In various ways, all of the 25 chapters that make up this volume are infused with imaginings of alternative futures which prioritise social justice and sustainability for the majority in the world.

Learning/Work will appeal to scholars and practitioners who are grappling to understand and implement learning/work critically within the demanding conditions of our times.


     Linda Cooper and Shirley Walters

Challenging dominant discourses
1. Turning work and lifelong learning inside out
    Shahrzad Mojab
2. But what will we eat? Research questions and priorities for work and learning
    Astrid von Kotze
3. Hard/soft, formal/informal, work/learning
    Kaela Jubas and Shauna Butterwick
4. Making different equal? Rifts and rupture in state and policy: the National Qualifications Framework in South Africa
    Rosemary Lugg
5. “Where can I find a conference on short courses?”
     Shirley Walters and Freda Daniels

Critiquing structural inequalities
6. Challenging donor agendas in adult and workplace education in Timor-Leste
     Bob Boughton
7. University drop-out and researching work and (lifelong) learning
    Moeketsi Letseka
8. Discourses of diversity and merit and exclusionary practices: Barriers to entry and progression in the UK solicitors’ profession
    Hilary Sommerlad with Jane Stapleford
9. Reflections on a decade of research on Canadian teachers’ work and learning
    Paul Tarc and Harry Smaller
10. Migration and organizing: Between periphery and centre
      Anannya Bhattacharjee
11. Peripheralization, exploitation and lifelong learning in Canadian Guest Worker Programmes
      Peter H. Sawchuk and Arlo Kempf

12. Identity and occupation in the new economy: Learning in emotional labour and emotion work
      John Field and Irene Malcolm
13. Recognising phronesis or practical wisdom in the Recognition (Assessment) of Prior Learning
      Mignonne Breier
14. Learning indigenous knowledge systems
      Jennifer Hays
15. Domestic workers and knowledge in everyday life
      Jonathan Grossman
16. The Gender order of knowledge – Every-day life in a welfare state
      Gunilla Härnsten and Ulla Rosén
17. Urban mindset – rural realities: Teaching on the edge
      Barbara Barter

Workers organizing/learning
18. Learning democracy from North-South worker exchanges
      Judith Marshall
19. The desire for something better: Learning and organizing in the new world of work
      Tony Brown
20. Offering a new perspective on the ‘learning organization’: A case study of a South African trade union
      Linda Cooper
21. Learning at work and in the union
      Bruce Spencer
22. Learning, practice and democracy: Exploring union learning
      Keith Forrester and Hsun-Chih Li

Pedagogical innovations in Higher Education
23. Critical friends sharing socio-cultural influences on personal and professional identity
      Vivienne Bozalek and Lear Matthews
24. Towards effective partnerships in training community learning and development workers
      John Bamber and Clara O’Shea
25. Insights from an environmental education research programme in South Africa
      Heila Lotz-Sisitka


About the Author/s

Professor Linda Cooper is a senior lecturer in the Higher and Adult Education Studies Development Unit (HAESDU), in the Centre for Higher Education Development (CHED) at the University of Cape Town (UCT). She worked for a number of years in the field of trade union and worker education before joining the staff of UCT in the early 1990s. She is convenor of the Adult Education Programme at UCT and chair of UCT’s Adult Learner Working Group. She has published widely on learning in social movements; skills development and workplace learning; and on widening access to adult learners in higher education. Her theoretical interests centre on the role of experience in adult learning; power relationships between different forms of knowledge; and the impact of changes in the broader political economy and labour markets on knowledge and pedagogy. She has consulted to a number of national research projects, hosted by organisations such as the Human Sciences Research Council, Joint Education Trust, and the Western Cape government, and has acts as an education advisor to Ditsela (Development Institute for the Training, Support and Education of Labour) and other trade union education initiatives. She is a member of the International Advisory Committee of the Researching Work and Learning conference.

Professor Shirley Walters is professor of adult and continuing education at University of Western Cape where she is the director of the Division for Lifelong Learning. She has published widely on issues relating to feminist popular education, community adult education, lifelong learning and education for democracy. Before joining UWC in 1985 she worked as a high school teacher, a training officer on a diamond mine and a director of community organisations. She has been involved with many civil society organizations which are concerned with social justice issues and the promotion of adult and lifelong learning. She has a doctorate from University of Cape Town and an honorary doctorate from University of Linkoping, Sweden. She was inducted into the USA based International Adult and Continuing Education Hall of Fame in 2005. She is also the Chairperson of the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA).


“Here is a provocative counter-narrative to knowledge economy discourses and their easy conflation of work with learning and life. These authors plea for the worker and the possibility of democratic work, in a rich collection that is particularly salutary at this time of increasing anxiety and cynicism about the global workplace.”

- Professor Tara Fenwick, Head of Department of Educational Studies, University of British Columbia, Canada

“This book draws on some of the best papers from the 5th International Researching Work and Learning Conference which took place in South Africa. The collection reflects an engagement with the academic development of a new interdisciplinary research domain, together with local political and educational issues across the world. For a European reader, the collection gives a stimulating insight into non-European discussions.”

- Professor Henning Salling Olesen, Rector, Roskilde University, Denmark

“This edited collection puts the politics back into the research field of work and learning, particularly a politics which really acknowledges 'work' outside the formal economy, and which takes into account the global and the local as a dialectic. It will be essential reading for anyone seeking a critical perspective on work and learning.”

- Professor Miriam Zukas, University of Leeds

“Decent work and quality life for all is the underlying sentiment expressed through this important book on learning/work, which foregrounds the interests of workers.”

-Gino Govender, Director, Ditsela, Johannesburg, South Africa

“This book makes a timely and significant contribution to highlighting the importance of research into learning/work in South Africa and elsewhere if we are to improve our success rates. If the South African National Qualifications Framework (NQF) is to function effectively as a learner-centred framework of communication, co-ordination and collaboration across education, training and work, a research orientation is essential. I encourage practitioners and scholars across the education and training system to engage this text enthusiastically to take learning at work to new heights.”

- Samuel Isaacs, CEO, South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA)

Click on the link below to read the reviews:

Sowetan Learning/Work 26 January 2010



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