Lifelong Learning, the ‘New Economy’ and the Implications for Wisdom

By Deborah West.

Published by The Organization Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

In 1970, anthropologist Margaret Mead put forward a theory on the changing patterns in culture from a post-figurative stage which embodies traditional patterns of interaction and learning through to an emerging pre-figurative stage where younger people play a much greater role. Such a fundamental shift places different values on ways of knowing, learning, and what is conceived of as wisdom. The movement to this pre-figurative stage can be seen as being driven by our ‘new economy’ where the link between the use of information technology and the generation of income is fundamental. Additionally this shift is driving the need for an increase in the skill base of the population and subsequently the push for lifelong learning. This paper outlines the connections between the two dialogues on the information economy and lifelong learning. It argues that the emergence and solidification of the pre-figurative stage is in fact based on the predominance of information technology in all aspects of life but particularly in the economic sphere. As such, it explores the interplay of lifelong learning, the ‘new economy’ and the implications for our changing understandings of wisdom.

Keywords: Lifelong Learning, New Economy, Knowledge Economy, Wisdom

The International Journal of Knowledge, Culture and Change Management, Volume 7, Issue 12, pp.31-38. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 475.262KB).

Dr. Deborah West

Senior Lecturer, Social Work and Welfare Studies, Charles Darwin University, Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia

Deborah West is Associate Professor of Social Work and Course Coordinator in Social Work and Welfare Studies at Charles Darwin University in the Northern Territory. She holds a Master of Social Work and a PhD from Flinders University. Working in the aged care field as a social worker, her interest in the role that technology can play in a positive ageing experience was explored. Her PhD thesis focused on the intersection of social work, lifelong learning and technology. Her main area of research interest focuses on the field of technology and participation and the application of technology to human service provision.


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