"The whole movement of life is learning" (Krishnamurti). "To be an act of knowing, then, the adult literacy process must engage the learners in the constant problematizing of their existential situations" (Freire). "Once you learn to read, you will be forever free" (Douglass). "I can learn anything I have the desire to learn" (White, S.G.).

Monday, March 3, 2014

Start 'em young

I thoroughly enjoyed the chapters we read for this week about the new capitalism. I am not a fan of capitalism anyway, but this reading helped me explore it from a different angle. When we rely on the workplace for literacy and learning, it creates a serious dependence on the capitalism structure. I think that it is very dangerous to tie all of these things together. What about people who raise children or who have disabilities that prevent them from learning? They are missing out on the benefits of being in the workplace. Basically, what the new capitalism does is attach a worker to their workplace with Discourse. It says “you are your job” and “you are what you own.” This is so alienating. What was even more disturbing was on page 31, when they talked about how this change was taking place earlier, in school. Start ‘em young so that the buy in to the capitalist discourse occurs before their time on the job.

I am beginning to see organizational discourse as a structure and how it requires employee buy in, which often blurs the line between an employee's public and private lives. There is so much that is wrapped up in this capitalist discourse—pushing business programs in college so that students have a “practical” background aka early indoctrination into the discourse. I could even link this to other things, like companies scaring their employees into staying in their jobs because it was better than teaching the organization’s own discourse to new employees.

While I was reading the chapters, I began to jot notes down about my own project. I would like to examine the how the levels of the discourse of the Travel Authorization Form create tension in the organization—such a huge part of these two chapters. How does my project change around a newfound focus on the background of the learners and their own personal buy in to the organization? I can probably find different skill levels in my department. How can I change the questions based on different levels of literacy AKA indoctrination into the dominant discourse, which is pretty much what a TAF is. What would be hard for an outsider to learn? I am looking forward to exploring these ideas through my interviews and research!

Gif from Community episode "Art of the Discourse" from here.


  1. Melissa - these are wonderful 'questions about questions' that will result in an even deeper, and more meaningful study. I wonder if the form not only creates tensions, but also REVEALS existing ones? Also, I hope you will consider the positionality that clashing Discourses create. let me know if you want to brainstorm! B.

  2. Hi Melissa - not sure if this will help, but we have a new employee in HR that is JUST learning about Travel Authorization processes and completing the TAF's. She might be a good person to talk to if you want to get a perspective of someone who is seeing this for the first time.


Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts on this post. Diverse opinions are welcomed.