Kenneth Wain and the Lifelong Engagement with Education
4. Lifelong Guidance, Citizen Rights, and the State: Reclaiming the Social Contract
In the European forums on guidance that have been created in the recent past—starting with, from 2002 to 2007, the Expert Group on Lifelong Guidance, and from 2007 onward, the European Lifelong Guidance Policy Network (Watts, Sultana, & McCarthy, 2010)—two discourses have evolved that consider the person who makes use of guidance services in different ways. These two discourses construct the person either as a “citizen” or as a “user,” “customer,” or “client.” The discourses articulate their standpoints in ways that do not overtly acknowledge the distinct social and political philosophies that underpin each term, with much slippage in their use in policy documents, concept papers, and research reports. This slippage is also noticeable in academic papers, such as those represented in the International Handbook of Career Guidance edited by Athanasou and van Esbroeck (2008). I contend that a heightened awareness of such distinctions is important, as it has an impact on the way the field is viewed in policy terms, as a service, and as a practice.
The ideological lineage behind the use of such words as “user,” “customer,” and “client” at EU member state and suprastate level and beyond is closely linked to the rise of neoliberalism (Clarke, 2007; Eriksen & ← 57 | 58 → Weigard, 1999; Harvey, 2005), which has had an especially powerful impact on the reform of public services internationally, through the adoption, since the 1980s, of the so-called New Public Management (NPM) paradigm (Pollitt & Bouckaert, 2004). According to Shattock (2008, p....
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