The Digitalization of Work and Social Justice: Reflections on the Labour Process of English Further Education Teachers

  • James AvisEmail author
  • Cheryl Reynolds
Part of the Professional and Practice-based Learning book series (PPBL, volume 21)


The chapter sets the discussion within the broader socio-economic context in which further education teachers’ labour, one characterized by underemployment and over-qualification, precariousness and the prevalence of ‘rotten jobs’. In this context, educational workers are subject to high levels of surveillance rooted in regimes of performativity and institutional risk aversion. Paradoxically these practices rest alongside what Glazer (2014) describes as ‘busy-work’ – meaningless activities that distract us from interrogating the nature of our labour. The previous processes are facilitated by the digitalization of work and carry significant social justice implications which are averred to in conceptualizations of immaterial labour, digital capitalism and cognitive capitalism. Whilst digitalization has enabled work to penetrate our entire lives appropriating what could be described as free labour, we should nevertheless avoid an overly technicist and determinist analysis. Digitalization not only carries with it oppressive possibilities but also provides a site of struggle that can be mobilized in the pursuit of social justice. The chapter explores these tensions in relation to the work of further education teachers.


Digitalisation Labour process Busy work Further education Capitalism Socio-economic context 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of HudderfieldHudderfieldUK

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