Beyond the abstractions? Adult Education research from idealism to critical social science

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      The anniversary of the International Journal of Lifelong Education takes place in the middle of a conceptual landslide from lifelong education to lifelong learning. Contemporary discourses of lifelong learning etc are however abstractions behind which new functions and agendas for adult education are set. The ideological discourse of recent policies seems to neglect the fact that history and resources for lifelong learning are different across Europe, and also neglects the multiplicity of adult learners. Instead of refusing the new agendas, however, adult education research should try to dissolve the abstractions by broadening it's scope of interest, by focussing on differences of learners, by age, gender, ethnicity, social experience, and differences in context, by socioeconomic environment, culture etc. Practically, it is argued, this means to embrace the new focus on informal learning and work related learning. Adult education research must fulfil it's potential conversion from normative philosophy to critical and empirical social science.
    Translated title of the contributionHinsides abstraktionerne? Voksenuddannelsesforskning fra idealisme til kritisk socialvidenskab
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalInternational Journal of Lifelong Education
    Issue number3
    Pages (from-to)241-256
    Number of pages16
    Publication statusPublished - 2006


    • lifelong learning
    • empirical learning research

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