The politics of skill and potential in an ‘emerging’ region : upskilling initiatives in Istanbul

Rolien Susanne HOYNG

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


This article examines upskilling programs that involve information and communication technologies in the city of Istanbul, Turkey. While their learning aims range from basic computer skills to entrepreneurship and innovativeness, upskilling programs do not just stimulate skills and potential to learn, create and collaborate. They also introduce discourses and techniques that govern the latter. This article analyzes the politics of skill and potential in the so-called ‘emerging region’, where potential as a human resource becomes articulated to prognosticated macro-economic development yet where skill trends are equivocal. Focusing on both the curriculum design of upskilling programs and everyday practices of learning, I explore the subjection of skill and potential to rationalities of macro-economic development and informational-capitalist logics of accumulation as well as the possibility of resistance to such subjection. To this end, this article designs a nexus of upskilling/deskilling and empowerment/disempowerment, which highlights empirical and normative complexities in the debate on skill trends in cultural studies and adjacent fields.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Cultural Studies
Issue number6
Early online date4 Jan 2017
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2018


  • Development
  • Istanbul
  • Turkey
  • digital labor
  • emerging region
  • immaterial labor
  • information and communication technology for development
  • informational capitalism
  • life-long learning
  • upskilling/deskilling


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