Exercising self through working life: Learning, work and identity
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This chapter discusses what motivates and directs individuals' lifelong learning. It proposes that individuals' sense of self shapes and is shaped by their participation and learning throughout working life through a quest to become themselves. In encouraging individuals to 'help themselves' in their learning throughout their working life, this learning is likely to be driven by personal intentions and their agency rather than the goals of others. Therefore, the agency and intentionality that directs that quest may not always coincide with the kinds of goals that government and employers want. Instead, helping oneself is likely to be directed by and towards their sense of self, which includes the negotiation of identity as they engage in work. It follows that in understanding the processes of learning and the remaking of work practice, a greater acknowledgement of individuals' sense of self needs acknowledging and to be accounted for in policies and practices associated with lifelong learning. Policy and policy-related initiatives might need to account for factors that motivate and engage individuals in the process of learning throughout working life and not assume that goals beyond the individual will be sufficient for mobilising that learning.
Identities at work
© 2007 Springer. This is the author-manuscript version of this paper. It is reproduced here in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. Please refer to the publisher’s website for further information.