Accepted paper:

The Innovation Subject. Governmental Technologies in Vocational Orientation


Clelia Minnetian (TU Berlin)

Paper short abstract:

In vocational orientation in Germany governmental technologies promote an innovation imperative which has subjectifying effects on self-images and life-concepts. Combining a historical discourse analysis with participating observation I examine the powerful effects of this rationality.

Paper long abstract:

The innovation discourse in german education politics demands an innovationfriendly context to promote further economical growth and social prosperity. This comes with the idea, that innovations can't be produced by a central institution, but that the state has to establish a setting in which the production of innovations is more likely. Innovation itself is in this sense not contested, it is unisono referred to as an ideal, as a solution for diverse technical and social problems. Therefore the innovation imperative is also promoted through vocational orientation which though is a heterogenous and contested field of high individual and social relevance. In my research a historical discourse perspective through genealogy is combined with a contemporary focus on concrete governmental technologies. Empirically the research is based on document analysis and on participating observation at orientation programs and consultancy as well on biographic interviews with students in the vocational orientation phase. I aim to develop a historical understanding of the power relations in the complex of vocational orientation; and to examine the governmental practices applied - regarding their subjectivizing effects. On the basis of the innovation discourse in educational politics my hypothesis is that this rationality is also powerful in vocational orientation and is applied through governmental practices. These again have intended and not intended effects on the subject - on self-images and life-concepts. With my research I aim to examine the link between the innovation discourse and its subjectifying effects and will present first central findings at the conference.

panel T071
Innovation: Discourses, politics, societies, and blind spots