Dionne, P. et Bourdon, S. (2018). Contradictions as the driving force of collective and subjective development group employment programmes. Journal of Education and Work. doi: 10.1080/13639080.2018.1468071
This paper explores the role of collective contradictions in the development of participants in a group employment programmes. It presents an analysis, rooted in cultural-historical activity theory, of longitudinal data collected during an intervention aimed at social and professional reintegration of people living a long-term unemployment situation. Notably based on contradictions typology proposed by Y. Engeström and Sannino (2011), our analysis shows a predominance of discursive manifestations of conflicts and critical-conflicts in the transformation of the group’s activity. The contribution to the resolution of contradiction and the mobilization of scientific and systematic conceptual instruments seems to promote the processes of consciousness that allow, on the one hand, a better understanding of what shapes these actions, thoughts and emotions, and on the other hand, a greater control or mastery thereof. This inclusion of conceptual knowledge in the curricula of employment programmes plays a critical role in the empowerment of participants. The analysis of the collective activity of groups aimed at social and professional integration shows the importance of dialectical contradictions as a driving force for development, both in terms of collective and subjective activity. Findings support the benefits of the group context in helping participant’s development towards SPI.