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From 'organisms' to 'boundaries': the uneven development of theory narratives in education, learning and work connections.

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>1/02/2006
<mark>Journal</mark>Journal of Education and Work
Issue number1
Number of pages27
Pages (from-to)1-27
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


This paper uses the metaphor of a 'theory narrative' to discuss the way in which the connections between education, learning and work have been understood. It identifies six theory narratives, and analyses each in turn, leading to an overview that suggests the way in which these explanatory frameworks might evolve in the future. The six narratives are grouped into three types. Functionalist and Marxist narratives constitute modernist, 'structuralist' explanations; liberal and progressive emancipatory narratives foreground educational aims and social practice; and boundary-crossing narratives emphasize the integration of learning and work practices. The paper plots the ebb and flow of these narratives in terms of their theoretical assumptions, policy implications and the inferences made for the learner as clear distinctions between educational practices and work practices are challenged.

Bibliographic note

This paper builds on previous work on theory building in education, learning and work connections. The theoretical innovation is to depict the evolution of theory in this area as a theory 'narrative'. This is a unique way of characterising the way theoretical threads (in this case six ways in which theory of the connections between learning and working are expressed) evolve, shift and interact over time. It takes an international perspective examining the epistemological assumptions, agency, assumptions about the learning process, analytical focus and implications for work embedded in each of the six narratives. The work has now been used as a standard text in University courses focusing on this area. The paper was refereed 'blind' by three referees familiar with the field of research. RAE_import_type : Journal article RAE_uoa_type : Education