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CAUT Bulletin Archives

June 2005

Hidden Knowledge: Organized Labour in the Information Age

D.W. Livingstone & Peter H. Sawchuk. Aurora, Ontario: Garamond Press, 2003; 320 pp; ISBN: 1-55193-045-5, paper $36.95 ca.
Working people are more knowledgeable and actively engaged in learning than public discussion generally assumes. Two basic assumptions underlie much recent discussion about work and learning: a new "knowledge-based economy" is quickly emerging with new jobs generally requiring greater knowledge and skill; and, a "lifelong learning culture" must be created in order for workers to cope with these employment-related knowledge demands. Virtually every recent public policy statement about employment in every advanced industrial country begins with these assumptions. It implies that most workers suffer from a deficit of necessary skills and knowledge which must be rectified by greater education and training efforts. Hidden Knowledge challenges these assumptions. Through life history interviews and case study research with union members, the actual learning practices of working class people are documented in unprecedented detail.
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