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Giving notice to employability


The notion of employability has risen to prominence over the past 20 years, having gained remarkable traction in policy-making, organizational life, and society more generally. The term has become popular as an antipode to the policy goal of ‘full employment’ (Finn, 2000) and the conceptual lynchpin of a new career covenant that claims to supplant long-term organizational career bargains (e.g. Kanter, 1989).

Sorting people in and out: The plasticity of the categories of employability, work capacity and disability as technologies of government

Introduction: Employability and disability as floating signifiers

The trend in contemporary Western labour markets is one towards enhanced emphasis on competition, mobility, flexibility, and continuous learning. Increasingly, people are expected to assume individual responsibility for the development of their professional portfolios, their capacities, and for their career trajectories. In current labour market policy, there is an emphasis on the self-responsibilization of the individual as a recipe for achieving a greater degree of dynamism in labour markets (e.g.

On employability in higher education and its relation to quality assurance: Between dis-identification and de-throning

The [students´] agitating makes me think of something that was invented one day, if I recall correctly, by my good, late friend Marcel Duchamp, ‘A bachelor prepares his own chocolate’. Take care that the agitator is not preparing his own chocolate. Jacques Lacan in 1969 [Lacan, 2007: 199]

The limits of employability

At a time when in the UK the government is undertaking a fundamental reform of social security, this book should be made compulsory reading by everyone involved in designing and delivering welfare payments systems, from Ministers to frontline staff. The book explores the dynamics of the lives of people who ‘churn’ between low-pay jobs and social welfare. Unlike most of this special issue, it is not specifically focused on the concept of ‘employability’, but the research emerged out of previous work by the authors which examines the early transitions of young people into the labour market.

Constructing the employable immigrant: The uses of validation practices in Sweden


Employability, often defined as an individual’s potential to become employed, has gained renewed attention in political debate over the last two decades (Berntson, Sverke and Marklund, 2006; Brown and Hesketh, 2004; Forrier and Sels, 2003; Finn, 2000; Garsten and Jacobsson, 2004; Gore, 2005; McQuaid and Lindsay, 2005). It has emerged as a signifier that has replaced previous vocabularies for describing the workforce.

Putting theory to work – a.k.a ‘if you don't like academia, why don't you leave?’

Introduction - Humboldt’s rift

The University of Culture, instituted by Humboldt, draws its legitimacy from culture, which names the synthesis of teaching and research, process and product, history and reason, philology and criticism, historical scholarship and aesthetic experience, the institution and the individual. (Readings, 1996: 65)

Fight for your alienation: The fantasy of employability and the ironic struggle for self-exploitation


Perhaps no greater freedom exists than the ability to determine one’s personal destiny. Employability stands at the heart of this trumpeted empowerment; purportedly providing individuals the resources to not only obtain employment but also, more importantly, the opportunity to ‘control their employment fate’ (Arthur and Rousseau, 1996; Hall, 2002).

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