Timescapes of Flexibility and Insecurity: Exploring the context of distance learners
journal contributionposted on 03.03.2008, 15:56 by Arwen Raddon
This article draws on the concept of ‘timescape’ (Adam, 1998) to explore the context of distance learners’ stories about their reasons for studying. It examines these learners’ narratives of being located in socio-historical time and space in which there is a greater need for flexibility in relation to the times and spaces of work and how this is underpinned by a strong sense of insecurity of work. Engaging in continued learning becomes one means of coping with this timescape, by becoming more flexible and remaining employable. In exploring these micro-level narratives, this article highlights both some of the multiple, interlinked layers of time and space, the impact of macro level discourses of flexibility, insecurity and lifelong learning, and the gendered and other power relations around these. It also reflects on the theoretical and empirical use of the concept of the timescape, arguing that the narrative or biographical approach provides a useful means through which to explore the timescapes of individuals and groups.