The curious promise of educationalising technological unemployment: What can places of learning really do about the future of work?

ABSTRACT

University education is full of promise. Indeed universities have the capacity to create and shape, through staff and students, all kinds of enthralling ‘worlds’ and ‘new possibilities of life’. Yet students are encouraged increasingly to view universities as simply a means to an end, where neoliberal education delivers flexible skills to directly serve a certain type of capitalism. Additionally, the universal challenge of technological unemployment, alongside numerous other social issues, has become educationalised and portrayed in HE policy, as an issue to be solved by universities. The idea that more education can resolve the problem of technological unemployment is a political construction which has largely failed to deliver its promise. In this article, we look at educationalisation in hand with technologisation and we draw on a Critical Discourse Analysis of HE policies, to demonstrate the problems arising from taken for granted visions of neoliberal social development related to education, technology, and employment. To disrupt the tired visions of ‘techno-fixes’ and ‘edu-fixes’ we identify in these texts, we call for a radical re-imagining of HE policy. Instead of attributing responsibility for social change to abstract notions of education, market and technology, a new shared vision is needed where more agency is explicitly attributed to the researchers, teachers, and students who are the genuine human future of work.

The Curious promise of …