Contested Learning in Welfare Work: A Study of Mind, Political Economy, and the Labour Process (Learning in Doing: Social, Cognitive and Computational

Contested Learning in Welfare Work: A Study of Mind, Political Economy, and the Labour Process (Learning in Doing: Social, Cognitive and Computational

By: Peter H. Sawchuk (author)Hardback

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Drawing on the field of cultural historical psychology and the sociologies of skill and labour process, Contested Learning in Welfare Work offers a detailed account of the learning lives of state welfare workers in Canada as they cope, accommodate, resist and flounder in times of heightened austerity. Documented through in-depth qualitative and quantitative analysis, Peter Sawchuk shows how the labour process changes workers, and how workers change the labour process, under the pressures of intensified economic conditions, new technologies, changing relations of space and time, and a high-tech version of Taylorism. Sawchuk traces these experiences over a seven-year period that includes major work reorganisation and the recent economic downturn. His analysis examines the dynamics between notions of de-skilling, re-skilling and up-skilling, as workers negotiate occupational learning and changing identities.

About Author

Peter Sawchuk is a Professor of Adult Education and Industrial Relations at the University of Toronto. He studies, writes and teaches in the areas of adult learning theory, the sociology and psychology of education and work, and Marxist political economy. Professor Sawchuk specialises in social perspectives on learning and the economy, emphasising the relationships between learning, labour processes, labour markets and political economy.


1. Introduction; 2. The skills impasse and an activity approach; 3. Taylorism - re-engaging with an enduring influence; 4. Historical meditations in the making of Taylorism in contemporary state social services work; 5. Experiencing the de-skilling premises of welfare work; 6. De-skilling - learning welfare work and the meditations of space, time, and distance; 7. Re-skilling, consenting, and the engrossments of administrative knowledge; 8. Up-skilling, resisting, and re-keying for craft knowledge; 9. Divisions of knowledge production, group formation, and occupational acculturation; 10. Understanding prevalence, roots, and factors of trajectories of knowledge production; 11. Mind in political economy and the labour process - a use-value thesis; Appendix.

Product Details

  • ISBN13: 9781107034679
  • Format: Hardback
  • Number Of Pages: 287
  • ID: 9781107034679
  • weight: 650
  • ISBN10: 1107034671

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