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.
“This volume inspires and challenges a questioning way of approaching European policy issues within adult education and lifelong learning. Rooting the discussion in different disciplinary perspectives and showing each their potential enables multifaceted insights into policy processes in adult education. This helps to not only capture which issues are relevant for further investigation; it also sheds light on the complexity, interrelations, multi-directional and co-productive processes that play a role within European adult education policy. It is this understanding that can be identified as a major contribution by the presented volume, as it sensitises for destabilising, questioning and exceeding taken for granted and common assumptions. By this means, the volume lays the groundwork for an open and critical further scientific discourse and in-depth research.
Not only is the volume recommended to the scientific readership that it primarily addresses. It also provides highly valuable insights for those practically involved in the constitution and development of policies or those working in fields of adult education that are strongly enmeshed in political matters. To just name two as an example, Fejes’ and Cort’s articles each point to a reflective potential regarding one’s own involvement in political processes and the resulting effects. The volume is characterised by its attempt to broaden awareness for the complex inter-relations playing a role in adult education policy. This makes it enjoyable reading for all those interested in understanding the described processes.”—in: International Yearbook of Adult Education Volume 37