Cardigans to Corporatism: some thoughts from research in progress

Year: 1992

Author: Funnell, R.

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

This paper constitutes some reflections and a beginning analysis of a research project on the impact that award restructuring and corporatism is having on day-to-day life in three TAFE Queensland colleges. In the process some comparisons will eventually be made to colleges in New South Wales, South Australia and Victoria. At the start of the study, my methods were mainly "ethnographic" -- intensive interviewing and participation where possible -- to be around when something of importance happened or was discussed. As the study progresses I am finding, not surprisingly, that what is occurring can only be fully interpreted by what Sartre (1967) calls the progressive regressive method. This is done by taking steps from the present situation, into past ones and then locating what different groups and individuals view as future possibilities. Thus, much of this paper will dwell on the strategies of policy formulation and implementation and very briefly on the interview materials which are still being gathered and are only in a beginning state of analysis. Theoretically, the data and analysis in progress and in this paper derive from my reading of the works of Ball (1991), Connell (1987), Pusey (1990), and Foucault as represented in Martin, Gutman and Hutton's (1988) reproduction of Foucault's seminar on Technologies of the Self. As such my leaning is towards research that considers relations between power in institutions and the formation of self. My experience of a trade, of teaching and administration positions in primary schools and in TAFE colleges and work in head office also influences what I find and how it is reported. The paper contains three sections each of which is derived from Connell's (1987) suggestions of levels of analysis suited to gaining what he terms a structural inventory of shifting powerrelations in an organisation. These levels relate to the division of labour, relations of power and cathexis or the emotional attachment individuals have to the first two levels.