Advertisement

International Review of Education

, Volume 58, Issue 6, pp 777–797 | Cite as

Globalisation, transnational policies and adult education

  • Marcella Milana
Article

Abstract

Globalisation, transnational policies and adult education – This paper examines policy documents produced by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the European Union (EU) in the field of adult education and learning. Both these entities address adult education as an explicit object of policy. This paper investigates how globalisation processes are constructed as policy problems when these transnational political agents propose adult education as a response. The author’s main argument is that while UNESCO presents the provision of adult education as a means for governments worldwide to overcome disadvantages experienced by their own citizenry, the EU institutionalises learning experiences as a means for governments to sustain regional economic growth and political expansion. After reviewing the literature on globalisation to elucidate the theories that inform current understanding of contemporary economic, political, cultural and ecological changes as political problems, she presents the conceptual and methodological framework of her analysis. The author then examines the active role played by UNESCO and the EU in promoting adult education as a policy objective at transnational level, and unpacks the specific problem “representations” that are substantiated by these organisations. She argues that UNESCO and EU processes assign specific values and meanings to globalisation, and that these reflect a limited understanding of the complexity of globalisation. Finally, she considers two of the effects produced by these problem representations.

Keywords

Adult education Transnational policy Globalisation UNESCO European Union 

Résumé

Mondialisation, politiques transnationales et éducation des adultes – Cet article examine les documents directifs émis par l’Organisation des Nations Unies pour l’éducation, la science et la culture (UNESCO) et par l’Union européenne (UE) dans le domaine de l’éducation et de l’apprentissage des adultes. Ces deux organismes considèrent l’éducation des adultes comme un sujet explicite de politique. L’auteure analyse que les processus de mondialisation sont échafaudés comme problèmes de politique quand ces agents de politiques transnationales proposent l’éducation des adultes comme une réponse. Elle prend pour argument principal que l’UNESCO présente l’offre d’éducation des adultes comme un moyen pour tous les gouvernements de la planète de surmonter les obstacles que rencontrent leurs citoyens, alors que l’UE institutionnalise les expériences d’apprentissage comme un moyen pour les gouvernements de soutenir la croissance économique régionale et l’expansion politique. Après avoir étudié la documentation sur la mondialisation afin d’éclairer les théories permettant d’appréhender comme problèmes politiques les défis économiques, politiques, culturels et écologiques d’aujourd’hui, l’auteure présente le cadre conceptuel et méthodologique de son analyse. Elle examine ensuite le rôle actif de l’UNESCO et de l’UE dans la promotion de l’éducation des adultes traitée comme objectif de politique transnationale, et analyse la question spécifique des « représentations » soutenues par ces organismes. Elle avance que dans leurs démarches, l’UNESCO et l’UE attribuent des valeurs et significations spécifiques à la mondialisation, qui reflètent une interprétation limitée de la complexité de la mondialisation. Enfin, elle dégage deux des effets produits par ces représentations de problèmes.

Zusammenfassung

Globalisierung, transnationale Politik und Erwachsenenbildung – In diesem Beitrag geht es um Strategiepapiere, die von der Organisation der Vereinten Nationen für Bildung, Wissenschaft und Kultur (UNESCO) und der Europäischen Union (EU) im Erwachsenenbildungsbereich erarbeitet wurden. Beide Organisationen haben die Erwachsenenbildung ausdrücklich zu einem politischen Ziel erklärt. Der Aufsatz untersucht, wie diese transnationalen politischen Akteure Globalisierungsprozesse als politische Problemstellungen ausdeuten, die sie dann mit dem Mittel der Erwachsenenbildung zu lösen versuchen. Die zentrale These der Autorin lautet, dass die UNESCO die Erwachsenenbildung als Instrument für Staaten in aller Welt darstelle, mit dem sich Benachteiligungen ihrer eigenen Bürgerinnen und Bürger überwinden lassen. Die EU institutionalisiere hingegen Lernerfahrungen, um den Regierungen ein Mittel an die Hand zu geben, das regionale Wirtschaftswachstum zu stärken und ihren politischen Einfluss auszubauen. Die Autorin gibt zunächst einen Überblick über die Veröffentlichungen zum Thema Globalisierung und erläutert die Theorien, auf deren Grundlage aktuelle wirtschaftliche, politische, kulturelle und ökologische Veränderungen als politische Problemstellungen interpretiert werden. Sodann stellt sie den konzeptionellen und methodischen Rahmen ihrer Analyse dar. Anschließend untersucht die Autorin die aktive Rolle der UNESCO und der EU hinsichtlich der Propagierung der Erwachsenenbildung als politisches Ziel auf transnationaler Ebene und fächert die spezifischen Problemrepräsentationen auf, die von diesen Organisationen untermauert werden. Sie vertritt die Auffassung, dass der Globalisierung durch die Prozesse der UNESCO und der EU bestimmte Werte und Bedeutungen zugeschrieben werden und dass sich in diesen Werten und Bedeutungen ein eingeschränktes Verständnis für die Komplexität der Globalisierung widerspiegelt. Zwei spezifische Auswirkungen dieser Problemrepräsentationen werden zum Abschluss des Beitrags genauer erläutert.

Resumen

Globalización, políticas transnacionales y educación de personas adultas – Este trabajo examina los documentos estratégicos producidos por la Organización de las Naciones Unidas para la Ciencia, la Educación y la Cultura (UNESCO) y la Unión Europea (UE) en el área de la educación y el aprendizaje. Ambas entidades enfocan la educación de adultos como objeto explícito de sus políticas. En este trabajo, la autora investiga cómo los procesos de globalización se desarrollan como problemas de políticas cuando estas entidades transnacionales proponen como respuesta la educación de las personas adultas. El argumento principal de la autora es el siguiente: mientras que la UNESCO presenta la oferta de educación de personas adultas como un modo con el que los gobiernos pueden superar mundialmente las desventajas que experimenta su propia ciudadanía, la UE institucionaliza las experiencias de aprendizaje como un camino con el cual los gobiernos pueden sostener el crecimiento económico regional y la expansión política. Luego de pasar revista a la literatura sobre globalización con el fin de clarificar las teorías que comunican el entendimiento actual de los cambios contemporáneos económicos, políticos, culturales y ecológicos como problemas políticos, ella presenta el marco conceptual y metodológico de su análisis. Luego, la autora examina el papel activo desempeñado por la UNESCO y la UE en la promoción de la educación de personas adultas como un objeto estratégico a nivel transnacional y desglosa las “representaciones” específicas de los problemas tal como los fundamentan estas organizaciones. La autora sostiene que los procesos de la UNESCO y la UE adjudican valores y significados específicos a la globalización, y que éstos reflejan una comprensión limitada de la complejidad insertada en los procesos de globalización contemporáneos. Finalmente, hace resaltar dos de los efectos que producen esas representaciones de los problemas.

References

  1. Apple, M. W. (2000). Between neoliberalism and neoconservativism: Education and conservatism in a global context. In N. Burbules & C. A. Torres (Eds.), Globalization and education: Critical perspectives (pp. 57–77). New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  2. Bacchi, C. (1999). Women, policy and politics: The construction of policy problems. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  3. Bacchi, C. (2000). Policy as discourse: What does it mean? Where does it get us? Discourses: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education, 21(2), 45–57.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bacchi, C. (2009). Analysing policy: What’s the problem represented to be?. French Forest, NSW: Pearson Australia.Google Scholar
  5. Bardach, E. (1981). Problems of problem definition in policy analysis. In J. P. Crecine (Ed.), Research in public policy analysis (Vol. 1, pp. 161–171). Greenwich, Conn: JAI Press.Google Scholar
  6. Bhola, H. S. (1994). Adult education policy formation and implementation: A global perspective. Policy Studies Review, 13(3/4), 319–340.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Brown, P., Lauder, H., & Ashton, D. (2011). The global auction. The broken promises of education, job and incomes. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  8. Burbules, N. C., & Torres, C. A. (Eds.). (2000). Globalization and education – Critical perspectives. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  9. Burr, V. (1995). An introduction to social constructionism. London: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Castells, M. (1996). The rise of the network society, the information age: Economy, society and culture. Cambridge/Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  11. Colebatch, H. K. (2006). Beyond the policy cycle: The policy process in Australia. Sydney: Allen and Unwin.Google Scholar
  12. Council of the European Union (2000). Presidency Conclusions, Lisbon, 2324 March 2000.Google Scholar
  13. Dalton, T., Draper, M., Weeks, W., & Wiser, J. (1996). Making social policy in Australia: An introduction. Sydney: Allen & Unwin.Google Scholar
  14. Daun, H. (2006). Comparative education, globalization and the world system: Towards a methodology. Paper presented at Comparative and International Education Society Conference, Baltimore (USA), 12 February–1 March.Google Scholar
  15. Dreher, A., Gaston, N., & Martens, P. (2008). Measuring globalisation. Gauging its consequences. New York: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. CEC (Commission of the European Communities). (2000). A memorandum on lifelong learning. Brussels: Commission of the European Communities.Google Scholar
  17. CEC (Commission of the European Communities). (2006). Communication from the Commission – Adult learning: It is never too late to learn. Brussels: Commission of the European Communities.Google Scholar
  18. CEC (Commission of the European Communities). (2007). Action plan on adult learning. It is always a good time to learn. Brussels: Commission of the European Communities.Google Scholar
  19. Council of the European Union. (2011). Council Resolution on a renewed European agenda for adult learning. Brussels: Council of the European Union. Accessed 27 July 2012 from http://register.consilium.europa.eu/pdf/en/11/st16/st16743.en11.pdf.
  20. European Parliament & Council of the European Union. (1995). Decision No 2493/95/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 1995 establishing 1996 as the “European year of lifelong learning”, Official Journal L 256, 26.10.1995, 45–48.Google Scholar
  21. Foucault, M. (1982). The subject and power. In H. Dreyfus & P. Rabinow (Eds.), Michel Foucault: Beyond structuralism and hermeneutics (pp. 208–226). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  22. Fuller, B. (1991). Growing up modern: The western state builds third-world schools. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  23. Gelpi, P. (1985). Lifelong education and international relations. London: Croom Helm.Google Scholar
  24. Griffin, C. (1987). Adult education as social policy. London: Croom Helm.Google Scholar
  25. Gusfield, J. R. (1989). The bridge over separated lands: Kenneth Burke’s significance for the study of social action. In H. Simmons & T. Melia (Eds.), The legacy of Kenneth Burke (pp. 28–54). Madison: The University of Wisconsin Press.Google Scholar
  26. Held, D., McGrew, A., Goldblatt, D., & Perraton, J. (1999). Global transformations. Stanford: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  27. Hinzen, H. (2007). CONFINTEA VI - The UNESCO International Conference on Adult Education in the context of MGDS, EFA, UNLD, LIFE and DESD. Convergence, 40(3/4), 265–283.Google Scholar
  28. Howarth, D. (2000). Discourse. Buckingham/Philadelphia: Open University Press.Google Scholar
  29. Kinley, D. (2009). Civilising globalisation. Human rights and the global economy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Knoll, J. H. (2007). The history of the UNESCO International Conferences on Adult Education. Convergence, 40(3/4), 21–41.Google Scholar
  31. Lengrand, P. (1970). An introduction to lifelong education. Paris: UNESCO.Google Scholar
  32. Lindblom, C. E. (1980). The policy-making process. New York: Prentice Hall.Google Scholar
  33. Luke, A., & Luke, C. (2000). A situated perspective on cultural globalisation. In N. Burbules & C. A. Torres (Eds.), Globalization and education: Critical perspectives (pp. 275–298). New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  34. Meyer, J., Kamens, D., & Benavot, A. (1992). School knowledge for the masses: World models and national primary curricular categories in the twentieth century. Philadelphia: Falmer.Google Scholar
  35. Moutsios, S. (2010). Power, politics and transnational policy-making in education. Globalisation, Societies and Education, 8(1), 121–141.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Nash, K. (2000). Contemporary political sociology: Globalization, politics, and power. London: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  37. Neumann, I. B. (2001). Mening, materialitet, makt: En innføring i diskursanalyse. Bergen: Fagbokforlaget.Google Scholar
  38. Popkewitz, T. S. (2000). Reform as the social administration of the child: Globalization of knowledge and power. In N. Burbules & C. A. Torres (Eds.), Globalization and education. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  39. Pöggeler, F. (Ed.). (1990). The State and Adult Education. Frankfurt am Main: Verlag Peter Lang.Google Scholar
  40. Pretz, J. E., Naples, A. J., & Sternberg, R. J. (2003). Recognizing, defining and presenting problems. In J. E. Davidson & R. J. Sternberg (Eds.), The psychology of problem solving. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  41. Simon, H. A. (1961). Decision making and planning. In H. S. Perloff (Ed.), Planning and the urban community. Pittsburgh: Carnegie Institute of Technology and the University of Pittsburgh Press.Google Scholar
  42. Smith, P., Pigozzi, M. J., Tomasevski, K., Bhola, H. S., Kuroda, K., & Mundy, K. (2007). UNESCO’s role in global educational development. Comparative Education Review, 51(2), 229–245.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Steiner-Khamsi, G., & Stolpe, I. (2006). Educational import: Local encounters with global forces in Mongolia. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  44. Steger, M. B. (2009). Globalization. New York: Sterling.Google Scholar
  45. UN (United Nations). (1948). The Universal declaration of human rights. New York: United Nations.Google Scholar
  46. UNESCO. (1976). Recommendation on the development of adult education adopted by the General Conference at its nineteenth session, Nairobi, 26 November. Accessed 18 July 2012 from http://uil.unesco.org/fileadmin/keydocuments/AdultEducation/en/declaration-nairob_e.pdf.
  47. UNESCO. (1997). The Hamburg declarationThe Agenda for the future. Fifth International Conference on Adult Education 14–18 July. Hamburg: UNESCO Institute for Education.Google Scholar
  48. UNESCO. (2009). Harnessing the power and potential of adult learning and education for a viable futureBélém Framework for Action. CONFINTEA VI Belém, 4 December. Hamburg: UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning.Google Scholar
  49. Valderrama, F. (1995). A history of UNESCO. Paris: UNESCO.Google Scholar
  50. Wildavsky, A. (1979). Speaking truth to power: The art and craft of policy analysis. Boston: Little Brown and Company.Google Scholar
  51. Winther-Jensen, T. (2004). Comparative education in a world of globalization. World Studies in Education, 5(2), 81–94.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EducationAarhus UniversityCopenhagen NVDenmark

Personalised recommendations