Mapping out the research field of adult education and learning
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The imagery of “mapping” is currently fashionable when discussing surveys of education, dating back perhaps to Rolland Paulston’s seminal Social cartography: Mapping ways of seeing social and educational change (1996).1 It is a very useful image, enabling us to visualise relationships between items on the map, and establishing boundaries (the terra incognita which is outside the field being studied). But it has its limitations: the items to be included and those to be omitted are highly selective; such a map takes one focal point as its centre and views everything from that point; and it provides a static snapshot at one precise moment.
The team of collaborators in Mapping out the research field of adult education and learningare aware of these limitations. Editors Andreas Fejes and Erik Nylander and their contributing authors set out to survey the characteristics of some of the research in adult education (AE) published in recent years. The book’s first limitation is that they...