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Employability as a treatment goal? A Foucauldian discourse analysis

Dlodlo, N. (2018). Employability as a treatment goal? A Foucauldian discourse analysis. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City, University of London)


The research aims to understand if the integration of psychological practice with social entrepreneurship can support individuals at risk for social exclusions enhance their employability, while enabling psychological professionals to remain sensitive to social justice. This appears challenging to do in state funded, institutional settings. There is limited evidence to support and explore such integration. However it has been noted that third sector settings can effectively accommodate socially just practice. In light of the above, Foucauldian Discourse Analysis is preliminarily applied to explore how social enterprises construct employability and to examine the implications for practice. The research study is concerned with social justice, with the contextual factors influencing psychological practice and with the integration of psychological practices and social entrepreneurship. The leaders of these social enterprises appeared to draw on discourses of neo-liberal citizenship and neo-liberal paternalism. They constructed employability using psychological constructions of motivation to internalise employability as an assumption and a responsibility of the individual. However, they also resisted aspects of these neo-liberal citizenship and psychological discourses to then integrate those discourses with economic and neo-liberal paternalistic discourses. This appeared useful in managing the aspirational and obliging tensions of their neo-liberal subject position. The participants’ constructions were effective in delineating the contexts and practitioners most appropriate for the implementation of employability enhancement interventions. This appeared to create particular implications for the practice. These implications in turn challenged the possibility of integrating psychological practice with social entrepreneurship. The findings of the analysis were contextualised with existing literature to explore the implications for social justice in integrating these practices to enhance client employability.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Departments: Doctoral Theses
Doctoral Theses > School of Arts and Social Sciences Doctoral Theses
School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Psychology
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