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Social Justice Explored in Education, Economy and Society Edited by Salim Vally and Enver Motala

Education, Economy and SocietyEducation, Economy and Society is a compelling and comprehensive antidote to the misconstrued nature of the relationship between education and society. It provides a constructive critique of conventional discourses but also alternative approaches to understand the connections between education and the triple scourge of unemployment, inequality and poverty.

Against a tendency to reduce the skills discourse to narrow economic ends, the contributors passionately argue that education finds its value and purpose in a focus on social justice, transformation and democratic citizenship. The joy of education is to capture human imaginations and unleash their creativity towards a more humane and compassionate society.

Here is a rich resource for educators, policy developers, trade unionists, and trainers to explore possibilities for a new pedagogy in post-school education and training through empirical research on skills, technology and issues of employment on the shop floor, critical analysis of the youth wage subsidy and workers’ education. The book will appeal to a wide audience including students and academics in the fields of industrial sociology; economics; adult education; further education and training; and those in youth development.

Education, Economy and Society “makes an impressive critique of conventional wisdom – that the promise of job creation, addressed through the greater supply of skills, can resolve the most intractable of social problems. The book argues persuasively that what is needed is a radical conceptualisation of the relationship between education, training and society in the interests of the marginalised, the poor and the working class.” – Prof Linda Cooper

Table of contents



About the contributors

Abreviations and acronyms

Chapter 1 ‘No One to Blame But Themselves’: Rethinking the Relationship between Education, Skills and Employment

Enver Motala and Salim Vally

Chapter 2 Education and Economy: Demystifying the Skills Siscourse

Salim Vally and Enver Motala

Chapter 3 Universities and the ‘Knowledge Economy’

Neville Alexander

Chapter 4 Going Around in Cricles: Employability, Responsiveness, and the Reform of the College Sector

Volker Wedekind

Chapter 5 Building a Transformative Pedagogy in Vocational Education

Ivor Baatjes, Uthando Baduza and Anthony Tolika Sibiya

Chapter 6 Skills? What Skills? Jobs? What Jobs? An Overview of Research into Education/Labour Market Relationships

Stephanie Allais and Oliver Nathan

Chapter 7 Debating the Nexus of Education, Skills and Technology in the Age of Lean Production: A Case Study of the ArcelorMittal Vanderbijlpark Plant

Mondli Hlatshwayo

Chapter 8 Skills, Jobs and Deception: Examples from the South African Workplace

Britt Baatjes

Chapter 9 On the Use and Abuse of Education: Reflections on Unemployment, the ‘Skills Gap’ and ‘Zombie Economics’

John Treat

Chapter 10 The Youth Wage Subsidy in South Africa: Employment, Skills and ‘Churning’

Niall Reddy

Chapter 11 Epistemic Injustice and the Struggle for Recognition: Human Dignity and the Recognition of Prior Learning

Elana Michelson

Chapter 12 (Re)Claiming Workers’ Education

Sheri Hamilton

Chapter 13 Skills Development in Post-Apartheid South Africa: Issues, Arguments and Contestations

Siphelo Ngcwangu


Book details


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