Biopolitics and lifelong learning: the vitalistic turn in English Further Education discourse
Beighton, C. 2021. Biopolitics and lifelong learning: the vitalistic turn in English Further Education discourse . International Journal of Lifelong Education.
This paper argues that a shift in discourse about the nature and purpose of Further Education is under way in England. A recent White Paper, “Skills for jobs: lifelong learning for opportunity and growth” (DFE, 2021), issued by the UK government, is couched in terms which suggest that a prior reliance on the ideology of neoliberalism is now moving towards the objectives and instruments of what Michel Foucault termed biopolitics, or the exploitation of life itself. I analyse the White Paper and related recent texts to show how a form of vitalist discourse accompanies attempts to accelerate potentially problematic processes of value-extraction. While these developments respond partly to the societal changes resulting from the threats to life of the Coronavirus pandemic and other existential crises, their likely impact suggests a shift in the discourses of lifelong learning: an existing apparatus of normalization and control is now turning to biopolitical exploitation.
|Keywords||Further education ; Biopolitics; Policy; Vitalism; Human capital theory|
|Journal||International Journal of Lifelong Education|
|Publisher||Taylor & Francis|
|Publication process dates|
|Accepted||17 Jun 2021|
|Deposited||24 Jun 2021|
|Accepted author manuscript|
File Access Level
|Output status||In press|
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