Tapping into the ‘standing-reserve’: a comparative analysis of workers’ training programmes in Kolkata and Toronto

Maitra, S. and Maitra, S. (2015) Tapping into the ‘standing-reserve’: a comparative analysis of workers’ training programmes in Kolkata and Toronto. Studies in Continuing Education, 37(3), pp. 317-332. (doi: 10.1080/0158037X.2015.1043988)

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This paper examines employment-related training programmes offered by state funded agencies and multinational corporations in Toronto (Canada) and Kolkata (India). In recent years both cities have witnessed a rise in the service sector industries aligned with global regimes of flexible work and the consequent reinvention of a worker subject that is no longer disciplined according to the needs of industrial production. A worker must now be self-regulated, competitive, flexible, with an ability to convey an urbane, English-speaking deportment within the workplace. Training of employees, especially soft skill training becomes crucial in this connection as a form of technology for achieving this end. Based on Martin Heidegger’s conceptualisation of ‘standing-reserve’, we suggest that what training programmes do in the context of neoliberal capitalist production is the creation of an essential quality of human-ness that has to be harnessed, its potentialities tapped and amplified through training. We further suggest that such programmes often remain heavily influenced by race/class/gender hierarchies as well as stereotypical assumptions of desirable/undesirable bodies, forms of socialisation and modes of habitation that often are naturalised in the course of training.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:The research conducted in India was supported by the Wenner-Gren Foundation [grant number8234]. The research conducted in Canada was supported by Social Sciences and HumanitiesResearch Council [grant number 756-2010-0718].
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Maitra, Professor Srabani
Authors: Maitra, S., and Maitra, S.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Education > Social Justice Place and Lifelong Education
College of Social Sciences > School of Education > Culture, Literacies, Inclusion & Pedagogy
Journal Name:Studies in Continuing Education
Publisher:Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
ISSN (Online):1470-126X
Published Online:27 July 2015
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2015 Taylor and Francis
First Published:First published in Studies in Continuing Education 37(3):317-332
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher

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