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Just a Process

Views on the Relations between Research, Practice and Politics in the Sector of VET- Festschrift for Anja Heikkinen- Edited by Philipp Gonon, Lorenz Lassnigg and Manfred Wahle

Edited By Philipp Gonon, Lorenz Lassnig and Manfred Wahle

This book is dedicated as a Festschrift to Anja Heikkinen by her friends and colleagues from the VET & Culture Network hosted at Tampere University ( The chapters describe and reflect various aspects of this big endeavour in the field of European and international research in vocational education and training (VET), and shows the many facets of developing a wide and diverse research community that spans national borders. Renowned researchers discuss important issues of the history and future of VET, dealing with politics and institutions, gender and vocationalism, history and comparisons, and transitions. Very much can be read between the lines about how this community of research in VET has evolved during the decades, and how it struggles to proceed.


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Politics and education: The discourse of "demographic change" - Katrin Kraus


105 Politics and education: The discourse of "demographic change"1 Katrin Kraus The relationship between politics and education is one of the major concerns in Anja Heikkinen's academic work (e.g. Heikkinen/Kraus 2009). With reference to the discourse of demographic change, this chapter also asks about the effects of policy on the development of education as both science and social practice. The analysis shows that the policies of an aging society are mirrored in educa- tion as a process of disciplinary differentiation. In the following, the relationship between policy and education is analysed using the example of the discourse of demographic change which has recently gained prominence in the industrialised societies and in the European Union (EU). First, I introduce the political discourse about demographic change and its impact on education, including the emergence of the new target group "older employees".2 Then I discuss the adaptation of education in response to the social change and policy agendas, with emphasis on EU policy in the period of the Lisbon Strategy (2000-10). This is not to deny the importance of recent changes in the age structure of our societies, but it is necessary to contextualise the dis- cussion about those changes and the consequences for education. Finally, the conclusion discusses the findings about these contexts from the perspective of creating target groups in education. Demographic change as political discourse and pedagogical issue In most industrial societies, questions about demographic developments have grown in importance since the beginning of the century. Topics related...

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