Contemporary adult education policy development and lifelong learning practice are experiencing an autonomy loss imposed by the dominant neoliberal economic paradigm. As a consequence, in many countries, especially those that depend economically from supranational organizations and donors, the critical approach and its adjunct idea of emancipation have been sacrificed in favour of ambiguous developmental goals like employability, flexibility and adaptability. On the other hand, in many countries, adult education as a social movement is deeply rooted in the conviction that learning is an essential process related to personal transformation and social change. The result of this conflict between the external pressure for policies in favour of the labour market and the internal assumption about the value of emancipation has led to interesting insights that have produced policies and practices that attempt to reconcile these two forces of development.
In this volume, we offer a consideration of the above paradoxical situation, and the critical view of adult education policy and practice in the region of Southeastern Europe. Some chapters in this volume present also positive lifelong learning practices, policy development analyses and conceptual understandings that highlight the efforts to develop adult education within a framework of the dominant neoliberal forces that shape European and international adult education policy.