'Employable posthumans': Developing HE policies that strengthen human technological collaboration not separation

Sarah Hayes*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Published conference outputChapter


Higher Education policy for student learning and employability is written in such a way that the performance of people is often separated from machines, through the structure of words. This hampers critical understandings of how humans and technologies mutually constitute each other. Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) of a large quantity of policy from the past two decades reveals frequent attribution of human labour to a series of buzzwords, the suggestion that technology will ‘fix’ societal issues and a treatment of students as a series of ‘parts’. Though institutions have been active in producing student ‘employability’ and ‘learning gain’ strategies on concerns of technological unemployment , they are noticeably silent. The instrumental routes students are encouraged to take through university will not guarantee future work . This article, therefore, examines first, the problem of taken-for-granted visions of neoliberal social development related to education , technology , and employment . Second, it considers the role of education in a digital age of potential mass technological unemployment . New understandings that encourage a symbiosis between humans and machines are drawn from posthumanist theory. Universities urgently need new policies for cooperation between humans and technology , rather than driving separation between them. However, this requires acknowledgement of the future of human work as co-evolving with our technologies, and not separate from them.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEducation and Technological Unemployment
EditorsM. Peters, P. Jandrić, A. Means
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9789811362255
ISBN (Print)9789811362248
Publication statusPublished - 29 Apr 2019


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