Precarity, Austerity and the Social Contract in a Liquid World
This chapter sets out to unpack the set of interrelated discourses that have developed around the field of career guidance, pointing out the implications that each has for policy, practice and research. Drawing on a typology proposed by Jürgen Habermas, it examines the way career guidance has historically been informed by technocratic, humanistic and social-reconstructionist rationalities, and explores these discourses in relation to the current conjuncture marked by a rise in austerity and precarity. In doing so, it draws on Zygmunt Bauman’s notion of ‘liquid modernity’ in order to make a case for ‘emancipatory career guidance’. This involves taking a normative stand that is critical of the neoliberal regimes that have colonised our lifeworld, and adopting instead a social justice agenda. While the latter is seen in terms of a ‘trajectory’ rather than a final ‘state’, it is argued that career guidance workers need to make a fundamental commitment to social justice, a stance that has repercussions for the way career guidance is imagined, and the way it is practiced.