Governance of Career Guidance : an enquiry into European policy

Abstract: The overall aim of this thesis is to enquire into and problematize the governance of career guidance and how individuals’ career management is constructed within EU policy. The empirical material consists of European policy documents produced during 2000-2015. The two central research questions explore (1) how European career guidance is made governable, and (2) how individuals’ career management is constructed and governed. The Foucauldian governmentality perspective and the analytic method of problematization is utilized. The analysis focuses on the compositions of normative forms of reason, discursive practices and techniques by which governing is exercised and knowledge is produced. The thesis is based on four articles, three of which concern career guidance and career management. The fourth article concerns education of citizenship. The analysis shows that the formation of a policy space for comparison of national systems of career guidance is significant for making European career guidance amenable to governance. It is mobilized by governing practices for involvement of institutional actors and the construction of standards of performance. This form of governance becomes effective on the condition that institutional actors use and produce knowledge and practices about what works in career guidance, and this implies self-control and constant monitoring. It is a complex process of producing self-regulation of career guidance adjustable to change and innovation in which both standardization and modulation are inbuilt. Moreover, this is dependent on the interplay of governance and self-government. Knowledge and practices shape career management as an individual competence, which each individual is assumed to achieve. The use of guidance techniques supporting this design and self-regulating practices contributes to responsibilizing individuals to achieve this competence. Knowledge of individuals’ management of their careers includes civic competence. This led me to extend my use of the theoretical framework to investigate how knowledge of civic competence is constructed in European policy documents concerning teacher education from 2000 to 2012. My analysis shows that presumptions of teaching civic competence support the production of the active and learning subject.