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Social Contexts for Career Guidance Throughout the World

  • Edwin L. Herr
Chapter

It is difficult to fully understand either career guidance or individual behaviour in isolation from the social contexts in which they function. Neither individual behaviour nor career guidance occurs in a vacuum, removed from the continuous transactions with social norms, mass media, behavioural expectations, policies and regulations, cultural traditions, definitions of acceptable roles, beliefs and values that comprise the field of stimuli in which individual behaviour and career guidance processes are constantly immersed. Such stimuli occur with different levels of intensity, intimacy, relevance and credibility as they shape and reinforce individual behaviour or the form and substance of career guidance processes, programs, or systems.

Frequently, individual career dilemmas first must be understood in relationship to their context. In essence the question becomes how is the person experiencing his or her environment, his or her social context, as a guide to decisions by the individual and a counsellor about some course of career guidance interventions (e.g., career information, assessment, job shadowing, exploratory activities, individual counselling). Many of the individual career concerns that bring people to a relationship with a career practitioner differ from population subgroup to population subgroup (as related, for example, to discrimination, segregation, sexism and ageism as contextual factors for some persons) or nation to nation (as related to resource differences, cultural value systems, demographic distribution) as well as at different points in individual career development. Such individual career concerns and the related anxieties, information deficits, or indecisiveness become the content with which career guidance practitioners and individual counselees interact. Thus, at the most intimate of interactive processes, the micro-level, career guidance is a social activity engaged in by a career practitioner and a client or counselee; at a macrolevel, career guidance is a socio-political process influenced by governmental policies, legislation, economics, politics, and by historical events. Throughout the last one hundred years or so, career guidance has become an increasingly important process in nations around the world as it responds to a variety of triggering and shaping mechanisms that emanate from economic and education changes, social policies, political transitions, and related phenomena.

Keywords

Social Context Career Development Career Education Individual Career Career Guidance 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media B.V 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Edwin L. Herr
    • 1
  1. 1.The Pennsylvania State UniversityUSA

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