Colley, Helen (2010) Communities of practice: reinscribing globalised labour in workplace learning. In: Connected Understanding: Linkages Between Theory and Practice in Adult Education Proceedings of the 29th National Conference of the Canadian Association for the Study of Adult Education (CASAE). Canadian Association for the Study of Adult Education (CASAE)., pp. 63-67. ISBN 9781895306651
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The concept of ‘communities of practice’ is widely used in workplace learning research. Whilst critiques have expanded its use in ways that claim more socially just approaches to workplace learning, a more critical analysis for change is needed. This paper draws on a case study of career guidance professionals’ work with young people, radically disturbed by new welfare-to-work policies. Their emotional and ethical labour reveals powerful processes of alienation, but also of resistance. Without reinscribing such aspects of globalized labour and capitalist power relations in workplace learning, ‘communities of practice’ remains a concept with a gaping hole in the middle.
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