We started this book by arguing that it could be fruitful to view our contemporary society as a confessing society in which verbalisation of the self to others and to oneself through, for example, speech and written accounts has become a conspicuous part. This argument draws support from contemporary examples of how confession shapes and governs subjects through a range of practices of lifelong learning. The argument shows that confession is still useful as a theorisation and concept, even though Foucault wrote about confession more than 30 years ago. Furthermore, our analysis illustrates how the boundaries between education, work and private life become blurred through the practices of lifelong learning such that confessions become increasingly distributed across social life. Lifelong guidance spreads guidance into new domains, and reflection and reflective practices are encouraged in education, work and private life. The same goes for dialogue and deliberation, which has recently become a guiding star within the fields of education and work as well as within policies aimed at democratic ‘renewal’. Here, it is believed that good governance policies mobilise and engage citizens in dialogue in accordance with the contemporary notions of deliberative democracy. Today, the media is shaped as a practice of lifelong learning. Through newspapers, TV and social media, each individual can learn how to become a lifelong learning citizen, parent, employee, neighbour, wife or husband. Through the media, people learn how to present themselves, think and act. As shown in Chapter 5, confession is a crucial aspect of these subject formation processes. On TV and in social media, such as Facebook, the individual is invited to share his or her experiences, inner thoughts and emotions and to make them visible to the public. A wide range of newly developed technologies have increased the visibility of one’s self. For example, people can publicly display the development of their weight through scales that connect to social media outlets, such as Twitter or Facebook. In such a situation, the boundaries between the private and the public are radically redrawn. Aspects of the self, such as those that are powerfully incorporated into the dominant discourses on health and beauty, become visible for public scrutiny. Through social media, anything becomes – or at least can become – public. Thus, we argue
that lifelong learning is a contemporary regime of practice through which power is distributed to shape desirable citizens.