chapter  3
18 Pages

Disputing managerial architecture in educational work Irony as a liberating strategy for Finnish vocational teachers


The changes that took place in Finland in the 1990s are consistent with occupational changes taking place elsewhere. According to Richard Sennett (1998: 70-72), the new practical realities of labour require acceptance that work identities are weaker and lighter than before and marked by indifference and impro vised skills. Still, at the same time, this kind of more superficial work orientation requires the particular strength of character, confidence to dwell in disorder and to flourish in the midst of dislocation. This kind of ‘expertise in uncertainty’ (Filander 2003, 2005) requires acceptance of instability as a normal everyday practice in which every individual must be able to adapt, and even enjoy, in their everyday life (Bauman 1992). Bauman (1996: 18-24) argues that the post-modern ‘problem of identity’ is primarily that of how to avoid fixation and keep the options open. In the life-game of the post-modern consumers and entrepreneurs, one has to live one day at a time without long-term commitments and vocations. What are then important are continuous presence and the capacity to move swiftly where the action is and to be ready to take in experiences as they come. One has to discover, invent, construct, assemble and even buy an identity and, first of all, prevent it from sticking.