Studies in Philosophy and Education

, Volume 29, Issue 2, pp 183–195 | Cite as

Transnational Discourses of Knowledge and Learning in Professional Work: Examples from Computer Engineering

  • Monika NerlandEmail author


Taking a Foucauldian framework as its point of departure, this paper discusses how transnational discourses of knowledge and learning operate in the profession of computer engineering and form a certain logic through which modes of being an engineer are regulated. Both the knowledge domain of computer engineering and its related labour market is heavily internationalised and characterised by a general focus on universalism and standardisation. Moreover, rapid shifts in technologies and institutional arrangements contribute to an embracement of more wide-ranging discourses related to lifelong learning and the enterprising self. Thus, dominant discourses of knowledge and learning within this profession reflect processes of globalisation and take a transnational character. The paper discusses how the discourses in play constitute mechanisms of governmentality that present certain expectations to professionals and shape their energies, efforts and desires in certain directions. In order to be influential, however, the discourses depend on individuals who take up the subject positions offered and enact them in locally relevant and partially creative ways. Thus, careful analyses of the discourses in specific knowledge communities, as well as of their interrelated subject positions, may enhance our understanding of the more epistemic dimensions of globalisation and how these come to influence the imaginations of individuals as ‘citizens of the world.’


Professional work Learning Discourses of knowledge Governmentality Cosmopolitanism 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for Educational ResearchUniversity of OsloOsloNorway

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