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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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On gender, work, vocationalism and VET - Liv Mjelde and Manfred Wahle


133 On gender, work, vocationalism and VET Liv Mjelde and Manfred Wahle The personal is political (Liv Mjelde) The question of gender has been an underlying concern in all VET & Culture conferences, but two of the conferences have directly addressed the subject as it pertains to vocational education. The first one took place in Tampere in May 1996 where the theme was the gendered history of vocational education. Its pri- mary aim was to discuss themes and methods for developing gendered historical research on vocational education in a European perspective.1 What did we know about women’s life and work situations in the different European countries at different points in history? What about the ideology of housewifery and women in different eras? The historian Ruth Watts was concerned about making women visible in the history of education. Christine Mayer had done her research on vocational education in Germany in a historical and gender-oriented perspective. Lea Henriksson looked upon women’s involvement in the creation of the Finn- ish welfare state. Leena Kuusisto and Maija Vesala discussed female teachers as vocational educators in Finland. Anja Heikkinen looked into gendered occupa- tional ideals in Finnish vocational education. I presented my research on the ad- vent of domestic science and housewife ideology in Norwegian education. We followed this up in a conference in Zurich years later.2 This focus on women and vocations has been one of the most fascinating features of the Net- work for me. One of the slogan’s of the women’s movement was...

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