NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ769085
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2006-Apr
Pages: 11
Abstractor: Author
Reference Count: 12
ISSN: ISSN-1363-9080
Work in Progress: Narratives of Aspiration from the New Economy
Morgan, George
Journal of Education and Work, v19 n2 p141-151 Apr 2006
Central to the discourses of the new economy is the model of the flexible, adaptive, ambitious and individualistic worker. This article considers the subjective purchase of that model by analysing interviews with three young women living and working in urban Australia. Their respective narratives of aspiration illustrate contrasting responses to the challenges posed by an increasingly unclear and unstable vocational landscape. The first, Sarah, while in high school worked on a casual basis in a shop selling surf wear and her father initiated her to the surfing subculture. Consistent with the spirit of this subculture, she demonstrated a reluctance to embrace the prospect of forging a career or finding a vocation and expressed a desire to opt out of the looming responsibilities of adulthood. The second, Nadia, grew up in a relatively poor family and had part-time jobs while at school, including working in clothing stores. The insecurity created by her upbringing led her to aspire to become a teacher, a stable career, where other options appeared to offer only a precarious living. The third interview subject, Nadia, epitomised the new worker. She demonstrated a desire to abstract from particular work experiences--forged in situations as diverse as a hamburger outlet and a boutique clothing store--an accumulation of habits and skills that would equip her for the creative and cosmopolitan employment to which she aspired. She embraced the notion of lifelong learning and exemplified a willingness to take up diverse opportunities when they arose. The paper argues that the notion of vocational ambition is problematic because, in many cases, those who are most ambitious are least clear about where that ambition might take them. Longitudinal studies considering whether earlier ambitions were realised are less interesting than explorations of narrative strategies used to make sense of vocational trajectories.
Routledge. Available from: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 325 Chestnut Street Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Fax: 215-625-2940; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Adult Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Australia