Beyond the current political economy of competence development
Henning Salling Olesen: Roskilde University, Denmark
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Competence is a concept imported into the adult and continuing education arena from the psychological terminology of human resource development in work organizations. It has been elevated to a societal and political level as part of a new discursive regime. This article points out the significance of the particular circumstances in which the competence discourse has emerged, and argues for its critical investigation within a Marxist framework. A new discourse of learning and competence reflects a new material dependency of capital(ism) on the concrete quality of work and workers, requiring a total program of learning for work. This opens a new arena of political struggle over the direction of learning processes and the participation of workers in work and society. The socio-economic realities and new understanding of the interrelationship between knowledge, skills, learning and practice central to the competence concept, raises a potential issue about the role of work and the living worker in a capitalist economy. This requires a re-development of the notion of economy based in the value and interest of working people, and enabled by the full development of the competences of the workers themselves. A notion of the “political economy of working people” is proposed as a framework for investigating the potentials of competence development for enhanced democracy.

Keywords: Competence; qualification; subjectivity; profession; political economy of working people

Volume 4, Issue: 2, Article 5, 2013

Henning Salling Olesen
Beyond the current political economy of competence development:
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Volume 4, Issue: 2, Article 5, 2013

Henning Salling Olesen
Beyond the current political economy of competence development:
Note: the following are taken directly from CrossRef
  • Henning Salling Olese & António Fragoso (2017). Editorial: social economy and learning for a political economy of solidarity. European Journal for Research on the Education and Learning of Adults, 8(2): 171. DOI: 10.3384/rela.2000-7426.relae14
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