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Global competitiveness and the regulation of UK adult literacy policy

Date: 10 May 2006 Time: 3.30-5.00 pm

Yvon Appleby, Lancaster Literacy Research Centre and Ngai-Ling Sum, Department of Politics and International Relations, Lancaster University

Global competitiveness and the regulation of UK adult literacy policy

Venue: County South, B45All welcome, please let Ann-Marie Houghton know if wanting to attend or send apologies

This interdisciplinary seminar looks at how global competitiveness regulates UK adult literacy policy through a process of layering and recontextualization. It highlights the importance of global-local policy fields in the production and circulation of knowledge and knowledge brands that are formulated and co-constructed by management gurus, international organizations, national governments and think tanks. This paper begins by examining the global knowledge brand of 'competitiveness' that originated from Professor Michael Porter in the Harvard Business School. This management discourse becomes a knowledge/policy brand and a symbol of growth since the 1990s. It circulates and technologizes in the global-local policy arena by the World Economic Forum and other (inter-)national organizations. For example, the World Economic Forum technologized this discourse as 'Competitiveness Index' and the UNIDO formulated the 'cluster development approach. In diverse manner, these global discourses are recontextualized within regional and local contexts and become regulatory mechanisms for national policy. We argue that UK concerns with global competitiveness and the knowledge economy have framed recent national adult literacy education. The national policy, Skills for Life, appears to provide increased life long learning opportunities; however set within a global competitiveness discourse it can be interpreted as creating a system that responds to self-surveillance and regulation which limits rather than increases individual opportunities.

Event website: http://www.lancs.ac.uk/fss/edres/news.htm

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Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Lancaster University
Lancaster LA1 4YD
United Kingdom

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