Hidden Knowledge: Organized Labour in the Information Age

By D.W. Livingstone and Peter Sawchuk

© 2003

Working people are more knowledgeable and actively engaged in learning than public discussion generally assumes. Two basic assumptions underlie much recent discussion about work and learning: a new "knowledge-based economy" is quickly emerging with new jobs generally requiring greater knowledge and skill; and, a "lifelong learning culture" must be created in order for workers to cope with these employment-related knowledge demands. Virtually every recent public policy statement about employment in every advanced industrial country begins with these assumptions. It implies that most workers suffer from a deficit of necessary skills and knowledge which must be rectified by greater education and training efforts. Hidden Knowledge challenges these assumptions. Through life history interviews and case study research with union members, the actual learning practices of working class people are documented in unprecedented detail.

Published Under the Garamond Imprint

Available in the US through Rowman & Littlefield.

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Product Details

  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 320 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 0.8in x 9.0in
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SKU# HE000120

  • PUBLISHED OCT 2003

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    ISBN 9781551930459
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Quick Overview

An important and valuable academic look at knowledge and learning.

Hidden Knowledge: Organized Labour in the Information Age

By D.W. Livingstone and Peter Sawchuk

© 2003

Working people are more knowledgeable and actively engaged in learning than public discussion generally assumes. Two basic assumptions underlie much recent discussion about work and learning: a new "knowledge-based economy" is quickly emerging with new jobs generally requiring greater knowledge and skill; and, a "lifelong learning culture" must be created in order for workers to cope with these employment-related knowledge demands. Virtually every recent public policy statement about employment in every advanced industrial country begins with these assumptions. It implies that most workers suffer from a deficit of necessary skills and knowledge which must be rectified by greater education and training efforts. Hidden Knowledge challenges these assumptions. Through life history interviews and case study research with union members, the actual learning practices of working class people are documented in unprecedented detail.

Published Under the Garamond Imprint

Available in the US through Rowman & Littlefield.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 320 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 0.8in x 9.0in
  • Reviews

    Hidden Knowledge goes to the very heart of the claims of a knowledge-based economy and demonstrates the realities and depth of workers' knowledge in powerful ways... a major contribution to our understanding of the real connections between knowledge and power in our societies.


    Michael W. Apple, John Bascom Professor of Curriculum and Instruction and Educational Policy Studies, University of Wisconsin, Madison

    An important and valuable academic look at knowledge and learning... a reference that labour educators will no doubt use over and over again. It shows that, as working people, we are all virtual sponges for learning throughout our lives and deserve to be recognized for the knowledge and skills we acquire at work, at home and at play.


    Leo W. Gerard, International President, United Steelworkers of America

    This exciting book will change the debate on knowledge-based production. It demonstrates that the main barrier to 21st century work forms stems from management's continued insistence on control over workers and refusal to rely on worker intelligence and ingenuity. Policy makers and workplace advocates need to read this study!


    Ruth Needleman, Professor of Labor Studies and Women's Studies, Indiana University and Coordinator, Swinshift College

    Livingstone and Sawchuk explore ethnographically the opportunities, longings and achievements of working-class women and men as adult learners in various contexts, as well as their disjunctures with what is valued by employers. We learn too about related class, gender and race inequalities. This book makes new discoveries and is the beginning of a new direction that will lead to more.


    Dorothy E. Smith, Professor Emeritus, University of Toronto

    Hidden Knowledge concludes that workers are more than someone else's human resources... a much needed counterpoint in a field dominated by a 'human capital' training orthodoxy. In approaching the issues of skills, learning and knowledge by first talking to workers and through workplace case studies, the authors explore both the richness and importance of informal learning.


    Bob White, Past President, Canadian Labour Congress & Canadian Autoworkers
  • Author Information

    D.W. Livingstone is Canada Research Chair in Lifelong Learning and Work at the University of Toronto, Head of the Centre for the Study of Education and Work at OISE/UT, and Director of the SSHRC national research network on "The Changing Nature of Work and Lifelong Learning."

  • Table of contents

    "

    Acknowledgements

    Introduction: Dimensions of Learning and Work in the Knowledge Society 

    Spheres of Work and Learning
    Class and Learning
    Working-class Underemployment
    Information Access in the Computer Era
    Sector-based Research Sites
    Chapter Outlines

    Part I: Researching Learning and Work

    Chapter 1: Starting with Workers and Researching the ""Hard Way""

    Introduction
    Research Methods
    Democratic Knowledge Production: The Importance of Social Standpoint 
    Concluding Remarks

    Chapter 2: Beyond Cultural Capital Theories: Hidden Dimensions of Working-class Learning

    Introduction
    The Cultural Capital Bias
    The Rediscovery of Creative Working-class Culture
    Critical Review of Major Theories of Adult Learning
    Origins of Cultural Historical Activity Theory
    Activity Theory from Vygotsky to the Present
    CHAT from a Working-class Standpoint
    Patriarchal, Racist and Ageist Effects on Working-class Learning
    Concluding Remarks

    Part II: Case Studies

    Chapter 3: Auto Workers: Lean Manufacturing and Rich Learning 

    Introduction
    The General Motors Site in Oshawa, Ontario
    The CAW and Local 222
    Tightening Labour Markets and Worker Rebellion
    Working in the Auto Plant: ""It doesn't take a genius""
    Formal Schooling and Job Training
    Informal on the Job Training: ""You're pretty much on your own""
    Union-based Education Programs
    Informal Learning in Local 222
    Cultural Historical Dimensions of Auto Workers' Learning
    Concluding Remarks

    Chapter 4: Builiding a Workers' Learning Culture in the Chemical Industry

    Introduction
    Profile of Workforce and Interviewees
    A Profile of Learning Amongst Chemical Workers
    Union-based Learning
    The Cultural Historical Dimensions of Learning Amongst Chemical Workers
    Chemical Workers' Learning and the Class Bias of Knowledge
    Struggle over Knowledge and Credentials at the Chemical Factory
    Challenging Existing Structures / Introducing New Ones
    Concluding Remarks

    Chapter 5: Learning, Restructuring, and Job Segregation at a Community College

    Introduction
    Working at the College
    Learning at the College
    Restructuring, Work and Learning in a College Setting
    Bumping and Mulit-tasking: The Reality of Work and Learning for College
    Workers under Restructuring
    Segregation Processes at the College
    Comparing Learning Across Groups
    Concluding Remarks

    Chapter 6: Divisions of Labour/Divisions of Learning in a Small Parts Manufacturer

    Introduction
    Research Overview and Participant Profile
    Profile of a Learning in a Small Parts Plant
    The Divisions of Learning at Work
    Concluding Remarks

    Chapter 7: Garment Workers: Learning Under Disruption

    Introduction
    Union Survival Response
    Profile of the Workforce
    Job Disruption and Stress
    Organization of Garment Sector Training
    A Profile of Learning in the Garment Sector
    Cultural Historical Dimensions of Garment Workers' Learning
    Concluding remarks

    Part III: Comparative Perspectives Across Case Studies

    Chapter 8: Household and Community-based Learning: Learning Cultures and Class Differences Beyond Paid Work 

    Introduction
    Home- and Community-based Learning Histories
    The Connections Between Economic Restructuring and Home and Community Life
    The Distribution of Free Time and Learning in the Home 
    ""I can't think of anything, can you?"": The Invisibility of Working-class Learning in the Home
    Working-class Community Living and Learning
    Family-based Union Learning
    Concluding Remarks

    Chapter 9: Surfacing the Hidden Dimensions of the Knowledge Society: The Struggle for Knowledge Across Differences 

    Uses of Formal Schooling, Organized Training and Informal Learning Across the Sites
    Gender, Race and Age Effects on Workers' Learning
    Recommendations
    Concluding Remarks

    Appendix: Interviewee Profiles

    References

    Index

    "

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