Liv Mjelde and Richard Daly
Like the current authors, VET and Culture are interdependent and would have quite different identities without their respective reliance on one another. Both terms are highly contested in our class-riven world. Vocational, associated closely with the manual labour market, is stigmatized as a poor cousin of general education. Culture, on the other hand, from colere (Latin: to cultivate) has to do with patterns of human activity and symbolic systems that lend them meaning in both phylo- and ontogenetic senses. A major trend in VET studies focuses on comparative policy content and standardization in the face of an ever-changing labour market. Much that is written on these themes shares a similar aim of transcending class and other divisions in society and tends to reflect poorly the rich and uneven local vocational education activities on the ground, be it across a nation, a continent or internationally. We argue that given the sectional interests in society, epistemological honesty demands a clear exposition of the researcher’s standpoint of knowing. Where does the VET analyst stand in society? What is demanded of the eyes and ears of researcher from the North working in the South? How about the colleagues in the South? Is “decolonizing the mind” a useful concept for both North and South in more than one way? We are both concerned with learning and teaching in communities of practice. One of us has spent her working life learning/teaching in the working class culture of VET, and the other with learning and teaching in “multicultural” underclass settings.
ACTIVITY THEORY AND VOCATIONAL PEDAGOGY: How does it really work?
VET AND CULTURE AS A PEDAGOGICAL ISSUE: Contradictions from a ”North”/ ”South” Perspective.
Liv Mjelde: (forthcoming) Born in a Norwegian Prison Camp. Bodø December 1944