Doing Identity Work: fuzzy boundaries and flexibility in further education

Harrison, Roger; Clarke, Julia; Reeve, Fiona and Edwards, Richard (2003). Doing Identity Work: fuzzy boundaries and flexibility in further education. Research in Post-Compulsory Education, 8(1) pp. 93–106.




Drawing on a sample of interviews from an empirical research project this article examines the ways in which discourses of flexibility are ‘worked’ to produce complex and shifting identity positions in the workplace of further education in the United Kingdom. The analysis follows others in viewing the workplace as a ‘site of struggle’ in which identity positions are discursively constructed. However, this is not to suggest that new identities associated with discourses of the ‘flexible worker’ are unproblematically taken up. The analysis draws on Foucault's notions of discourse and power to suggest that college lecturers are actively working the discourses of flexibility to produce a kaleidoscope of new identities for new contexts, new circumstances and new purposes.

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