Panel A.03 — Education, evolution of welfare measures and new inequalities

Convenors Raffaele Sibilio (Università degli Studi di Napoli “Federico II”, Italy); Paola Buonanno (Università degli Studi di Napoli “Federico II”, Italy); Angelo Falzarano (Università degli Studi di Napoli “Federico II”, Italy)

Keywords knowledge society; welfare state; learnfare; inequality.


The European social model and the Italian welfare state are taking on new configurations in response to the risks to which citizens are and will be exposed (Beck, 1999) in the knowledge economy and society (D. Foray, 2000 and UNESCO 2005, Towards Knowledge Societies) due to the changes that are consequence of the global economy (Bauman, 2001; Gallino 2000), the approach to the market and the digital revolution.

In 2009 the Council of the European Union “On a strategic framework for European cooperation in education and training (ET 2020)” recognized that “Education and training have a crucial role to play in meeting the many socio-economic, demographic, environmental and technological, challenges facing Europe and its citizens today and, in the years, ahead.”

In this direction, we propose to analyze learnfare policies, that is welfare initiatives that place education and training in the foreground for the development of the individual and society and from a critical perspective, which highlights distortions or paradoxes and that independently from their well-intentioned objectives, have generated or perpetuated forms of social inequality.

It would be interesting to shift focus more decisively from the analysis centered on individual capabilities, which places in the foreground the personal characteristics of each that allow them to convert their resources into the ability to promote their own goals, and to build one’s personal agency, to the living conditions that can give rise to different degrees of individual freedom (Sen, 2000). We are therefore interested in collecting contributions that highlight how and how much individual capabilities are conditioned at a European, national and local level by what we generically define as “context”. In particular, we aim to collect contributions on learnfare policies regarding their capabilities:

  • political – institutional, regulatory and governance to be effective and efficient in defining the entire process that goes from the planning of interventions to their implementation, and also to their monitoring and control;
  • to distinguish itself, in reality, from workfarist models and adhere more closely to those of enabling, social inclusion, active citizenship and personal development;
  • to implement theoretical, interpretative approaches and pedagogical practices such as, for example, the complexity paradigm (Morin, 1999), the use of skills-based teaching, lifelong learning and ICT as authentic levers for the enhancement of the learner;
  • to concretely use communication and narrative as vehicles to encourage the use of public and private education and training services.


Guidelines and abstracts submission