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Recently many activists, scholars, and political commentators have focused their attention on rising income inequality, stagnating wages, union decline, and the disappearance of steady work. They have proposed a variety of programs to address these trends, such as expanding eligibility for overtime, implementing paid family leave, raising the minimum wage, and investing in more training. While each of these specific proposals are valuable in themselves, they address only a part of the problem and offer only partial solutions. What they miss is that that there has been a fundamental change in the nature of work over the past three decades. Since the late 1980s, the entire context of the work experience has changed profoundly. Gone are the days when individuals (at least white, male individuals) with only a high school education could obtain a steady well-paying job by their late twenties and expect to stay in that job for the remainder of their careers. In the past, many blue-collar jobs provided job security, income stability, and a reliable package of social insurance and retirement benefits. But the steady job with a single employer throughout one’s career is a relic of the past.
Global policy making is taking shape in a wide range of public sector activities managed by transnational policy communities. Public policy scholars have long recognised the impact of globalisation on the industrialised knowledge economies of OECD states, as well as on social and economic policy challenges faced by developing and transition states. But the focus has been on domestic politics and policy. Today, policy studies literature is building new concepts of 'transnational public-private partnership', 'trans-governmentalism' and 'science diplomacy' to account for rapid growth of global policy networks and informal international organisations delivering public goods and services. This Element goes beyond traditional texts which focus on public policy as an activity of states to outline how global policy making has driven many global and regional transformations over the past quarter-century. This title is also available as Open Access on Cambridge Core.
The Introduction provides an overview of our approach to behavioral regulation as grounded in the theoretical work of Vygotsky and other related social and cultural theorists. From our approach, regulatory processes emerge from relational and agential processes of engagement in the learning practices of local communities such as classrooms, after-school programs, or homes. These processes are continuously interwoven with a community2019s cultural and semiotic resources. By focusing on relational and agential processes of learners and their teachers and mentors, our approach moves beyond the more common focus on self-regulation to a focus on all forms of behavioral regulation including self-, other-, co-, and socially shared regulation as relational parts of a whole system of regulatory processes for gaining, maintaining, and displaying intellectual and social-emotional competencies in the lived world. We introduce four novel sociocultural lenses for observing and analyzing regulatory processes in context and include a brief description of topics covered in the following chapters.
The Conclusion provides an overview of our theoretical approach and details how each of the four novel sociocultural lenses presented in this book offers observational and analytical tools for better understanding how behavioral regulation is a competency that is socially embedded and functions as a system of self-, other-, co-, and socially shared regulatory processes. Reconceptualizing competence as involving all forms of behavioral regulation moves away from the dualisms characteristic of traditional psychological approaches that divide the self from culture and the individual from society. Our analytical lenses do not reject the importance of an individual’s development of psychological and practical actions over time, but rather reframe them as part of a relational process of agency in which the regulated actions and interactions used to enact and develop intellectual and social emotional competences are always part of the sociocultural world.
In Chapter 2, we offer a theoretical frame referred to as the relational habitus (RH), which can be used to conceptualize, observe, and document how meaning-making processes are co-constructed over interactional and historical time. The RH is an ecological ensemble of relations including self, tools, tasks, and others that is intersubjectively constructed and sustained over time in formal and informal learning communities. The RH helps explain how variances in the social organization of regulatory processes are related to the structure of activities in learning arenas, the interactional processes in activities, and movement in the social and psychological spaces of these arenas. The RH encompasses three interrelated aspects of intersubjectivity: (1) an orientation to others in cultural contexts, (2) mutual perspective-taking accomplished through communication, and (3) perspective-making during learning. These aspects explain how regulatory processes emerge from and change through meaning-making by the agential actions of individuals and the situational structuring of these actions.
Chapter 5 offers a novel approach to emotion with the concept of contextual mood. In contrast to individualistic notions, mood is defined as emerging from socially distributed, interactive mechanisms, which, in turn, create and sustain moods in the lived experiences of learning practices. Contextual mood as a conceptual frame makes it possible to observe and capture how emotional (affective) experiences are interwoven with cognitive engagement in learning activities. In these activities, feelings permeate actions and thoughts and emerge through stancetaking, a linguistic resource used during social interactions. The creation of a contextual mood attunes learners to particular forms of behavioral regulation as learning activities unfold. We explain how a contextual mood prompts learners to consider, utilize, and potentially contribute to a repertoire of strategies for regulating meaning-making behaviors during literacy learning.
In Chapter 1, we present an overview of Vygotsky’s cultural-historical activity theory (CHAT), including an explanation of how regulatory processes arise from the routine practices of social life. As part of this overview, we provide an explicit definition of cultural practices. To elaborate how a practice perspective is beneficial for understanding behavioral regulation, we describe how basic elements of an activity theoretic framework capture defining elements of a social practice. This framework offers a useful model for conceptualizing and observing how social practices come into existence and bring/create contextual resources that influence behavioral regulation. These resources are contextually embedded and include such elements as cultural tools, sign systems and symbols, goal-directed activities, and tasks. To better understand how regulatory processes emerge from participation in a community’s valued activities, we offer definitions of self-, other-, and co-regulation from a practice perspective.
In Chapter 3, we offer practical-moral knowledge as a theoretical frame that can be used to understand the dynamic transactions between the historical construction of a social context and regulatory processes of learning. Practical-moral knowledge is socially embedded and emerges in formal and in formal learning communities. This form of knowledge is socially constructed and reconstructed from a continually emergent and shared semiotic (sign) system of rights, responsibilities, and duties that establishes legitimate actions and interactions for competent participation. This sign system is composed of social and moral orders and gives rise to a community ethos involving a code of conduct for regulating behaviors, a code always under revision as learners and the community co-develop. Learners (and their mentors/teachers) use locally constructed practical-moral knowledge to guide engagement in processes of self-, other-, and co-regulation.
In Chapter 4, we suggest that competency be reimagined as a social identity. Social identities are inhabited or embodied representations (signs) of the values and statuses (possible roles) of a community. Social identities can be explicit or implicit. An identity of competency is an example of an implicit form of social identity that is linked to a local community’s socially shared but tacit category for competency. This category represents the values and expectations for how to be, act, or feel like a competent member of a community. In learning settings, an identity of competency is implicitly valued and highly desired because it brings recognition and status (rights/power) for regulating the behaviors of self and others as well as indicates a willingness to persist in complex learning. Understanding how this form of identity is enacted can reveal what forms of behavior regulation indicate competency in learning communities.