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This book explores how narratives are deeply embodied, engaging heart, soul, as well as mind, through varying adult learner perspectives. Biographical research is not an isolated, individual, solipsistic endeavor but shaped by larger ecological interactions – in families, schools, universities, communities, societies, and networks – that can create or destroy hope.

Telling or listening to life stories celebrates complexity, messiness, and the rich potential of learning lives. The narratives in this book highlight the rapid disruption of sustainable ecologies, not only ‘natural’, physical, and biological, but also psychological, economic, relational, political, educational, cultural, and ethical. Yet, despite living in a precarious, and often frightening, liquid world, biographical research can both chronicle and illuminate how resources of hope are created in deeper, aesthetically satisfying ways. Biographical research offers insights, and even signposts, to understand and transcend the darker side of the human condition, alongside its inspirations.

Discourses, Dialogue and Diversity in Biographical Research aims to generate insight into people’s fears and anxieties but also their capacity to 'keep on keeping on' and to challenge forces that would diminish their and all our humanity. It provides a sustainable approach to creating sufficient hope in individuals and communities by showing how building meaningful dialogue, grounded in social justice, can create good enough experiences of togetherness across difference. The book illuminates what amounts to an ecology of life, learning and human flourishing in a sometimes tortured, fractious, fragmented, and fragile world, yet one still offering rich resources of hope.
Scholarship on adult education has fueled a high level of methodological creativity and innovation in order to tackle a diverse range of issues in a wide range of settings and locations in a critical and participatory manner. Adult education research is marked by the desire to do research differently and to conduct critical research with rather than about people which requires theoretical and methodological creativity. This entails a particular approach to how we seek to know the world in collaboration with people, to rupture hierarchical relations and to create new collaborative spaces of learning and research that encompass the diversity of people’s life experiences.

Doing Critical and Creative Research in Adult Education brings together both leading and emerging scholars in adult education research in order to capture the vitality and complexity of contemporary adult education research. This includes contributions on biographical, narrative, embodied, arts and media-based and ethnographic methods alongside the critical use of quantitative and mixed methods. This distinctive and rich methodological contribution has a general relevance and usefulness for all researchers and students in the social science and humanities, which draws attention to the importance of critical and creative participatory learning processes in human life and learning.
Adult Education in a Diverse and Complex World
Power has been a defining and constitutive theme of adult education scholarship for over a century and is a central concern of many of the most famous and influential thinkers in the field. Adult education has been particularly interested in how an analysis of power can be used to support transformative learning and democratic participation. In a fragile and interdependent world these questions are more important than ever. The aim of this collection is to offer an analysis of power and possibility in adult education which acknowledges, analyzes and responds to the complexity and diversity that characterizes contemporary education and society.

Power and Possibility: Adult Education in a Diverse and Complex World explores the topic of power and possibility theoretically, historically and practically through a range of perspectives and in relation to varied areas of interest within contemporary adult education. It is concerned with addressing how power works in and through adult education today by exploring what has changed in recent years and what is shaping and driving policy. Alongside this the book explores ways of theorizing learning, power and transformation that builds and extends adult education philosophy. In particular it takes up the themes of diversity and solidarity and explores barriers and possibilities for change in relation to these themes.
Psychosocial Perspectives on Adult Learning
The Societal Unconscious presents an innovative development of theory and methodology for adult education and learning research, recognizing psychodynamic dimensions of learning processes. With few exceptions the unconscious has been neglected in critical adult education research. The psychosocial approach in this book seeks to re-integrate the societal and the psychodynamic dimensions in analyzing adult learners and learning processes.

The book responds to contemporary awareness of the societal and cultural nature of subjectivity with a new material and dialectic psychosocial theory, comprising conscious as well as unconscious levels. Tracing interdisciplinary inspirations it sets a new broad horizon for in-depth understanding of learning in everyday life.

A number of empirical analyses demonstrate the entanglement of societal and psychodynamic dimensions of learning. Firstly, a part of the chapters deals with the complex subjective continuities and discontinuities in individual learning and career. Secondly, other chapters comprise analyses of leadership and the social psychology of organizational processes, and the psycho-social aspects of institutional regeneration. Thirdly, the book presents outlooks into the social psychology dimensions of wider societal and political processes, including "identity politics" and xenophobia. A last chapter finalizes the theoretical basis of the methodology.
Potentials for a Learning Space in a Changing World
Continuity and Discontinuity in Learning Careers: Potentials for a Learning Space in a Changing World focuses on the new challenges and threats posed to adult education as a potential way out of the economic crisis and social change. It explores the role of adult education in relation to the continuity and discontinuity of the learning careers and identities of adults in a range of adult education learning contexts in Europe and beyond. The focus is on non-traditional students and issues of inequality such as class, gender, ethnicity, age, disability and how inequalities may enable or constrain their learning careers and identities.
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Can adult education and learning be understood without reference to community and people’s daily lives? The response to be found in the chapters of this volume say emphatically no, they cannot. Adult learning can be best understood if we look at the social life of people in communities, and this book is an attempt to recover this view.
The chapters of this volume reflect ongoing research in the field of adult education and learning in and with communities. At the same time the work of the authors presented here offers a very vital reflection of the work of the ESREA research network Between Local and Global—Adult Learning and Communities. The chapters showcase the broad range of professional practice, the variety in both methodology and theoretical background, as well as the impressive scope of field research experience the authors bring to bear in their papers.
The first section provides the broad view of research into adult learning and community development emphasising how social movements are at the heart of local and global change and that they are critically important sources of power. The second section focuses in on the practice of educators/mediators working in local and regional contexts in which the tensions of the wider policy and discourse environment impact on adult learners. The third section privileges the view at the close level of research inside local communities in the field.
International researchers and practitioners, particularly young researchers, who are active in adult learning and in local/global communities will be interested in this book. The emphasis of the chapters is on participatory and emancipatory social research. Empowerment of women in rural communities, involvement of communities in social and environmental movements, power-sharing in community research projects and the exposure of hegemonic, globalising forces at work in ethnic communities are among the themes developed in this volume.
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This book is the third production from the ESREA Gender network and, once more, an opportunity to let the readers discover, or to know more, for a better understanding of questions related to gender and adult learning. It shows how researchers can be deeply involved in this specific field of adult education. The notion of informal learning has already been treated as a chapter in the 2003s book, but it becomes central and relevant in this new book considering the growing complexity of our society.
The editors insist in their title on “private world(s)” but the content of the book proves that informal learning processes, aside the self, are combined with contextual opportunities, which have been chosen or not. Their introduction remains what has to be known about the concepts of gender and informal learning. The contributors enlighten the debate with their geographical diversities all over Europe, but also with their theoretical systems of reference and the social contexts that have been analysed.
With the first part of this book, entitled “private spheres”, it is a sum of painful gendered discriminations and injustices which are presented and analysed. We can’t escape to the emotions it produces especially with the soldiers after the war and the men’s breath cancer: both researches related to men and the specificity of their suffering. This is an interesting and quite new opportunity to question gender.
In the second part related to “minorities and activism”, we discover groups who learn through their organised fights against discriminations. Emotions let place to a positive energy when we discover the strategies that feminists, or migrants or also retired men find to question the society in which they live. The authors show us not only what is learned by such communities, but also what their environment can learn from them.
The last part of the book drives us to different “contexts of informal learning”, mostly related to opportunities and obstacles in education and work situations. Community training, social work studies, scientist’s work and management school are the contexts chosen to clarify where the stereotypes and the discriminations along the lifespan for women are. From East to West and North to South of Europe, it seems once more that the debate presents a lot of similarities.
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This book analyses the challenges of globalisation and uncertainty impacting on working and learning at individual, organisational and societal levels. Each of the contributions addresses two overall questions: How is working and learning affected by uncertainty and globalisation? And, in what ways do individuals, organisations, political actors and education systems respond to these challenges?
Part 1 focuses on the micro level of working and learning for understanding the learning processes from an individual point of view by reflecting on learners’ needs and situations at work and in school-work transitions. Part 2 addresses the meso level by discussing sector-specific and organisational approaches to working and learning in times of uncertainty. The chapters represent a broad range of branches including public services (police work), the automotive sector and the health sector (elderly care). Finally, Part 3 addresses the macro level of working and learning by analysing how to govern, structure and organise vocational, professional and adult education at the boundaries of work, education and policy making.
Volume Editors: and
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The European Union is now a key player in making lifelong learning and adult education policy: this is the first book to explore a range of theoretical and methodological perspectives researchers can use to investigate its role. Chapters by leading experts and younger scholars from across Europe and beyond cover the evolution of EU policies, the role of policy ‘actors’ in what is often seen as the ‘black box’ of EU policy-making, and the contribution state theory can make to understanding the EU and its relations with Europe’s nations. They consider what theories of governmentality—drawing on the work of Foucault—can contribute. And they demonstrate how particular methodological approaches, such as ‘policy trails’, and the contribution the sociology of law, can make. Contributors include both specialists in adult education and scholars exploring how work from other disciplines can contribute to this field.

This is the first book in a new series from the European Society for Research on the Education of Adults, and draws on work within its Network on Policy Studies in Adult Education.
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Learning across Generations in Europe: Contemporary issues in older adult education constitutes an important book in the emergent field of study of older adult learning. The book gives a clear and wide overview on the different concepts, ideas, and meanings, related to older adults’ education, learning and intergenerational learning through strong theoretical standpoints, empirical research, and policy directions. The field of older adult education has expanded immensely in recent years since it raised questions that are connected to a rapidly ageing society in very turbulent times of economic and social changes in Europe. This book provides the basis for an in-depth analysis of the understandings and interpretations of education and learning in later-life, rethinking the development of different approaches for education of older adults, as well as diverse research and evaluation of different forms of older adults’ education and learning. It brings together both orthodox approaches to educational gerontology and older adult learning on important emerging issues faced by educators around the globe. The chapters address the contemporary differentiated discussion on diverse phenomena labelled ranging from intergenerational learning to older men learning, providing robust impulses for the development of further theoretical and empirical research on older adult and intergenerational learning. It is the editors’ intention that this collection of papers acts as a persuasive argument for formal and non-formal learning agencies to open more doors for older adults.