© 2019

Mapping out the Research Field of Adult Education and Learning

  • Andreas Fejes
  • Erik Nylander
  • Introduces a unique set of chapters describing and problematising the state-of-art in the field

  • Presents a detailed picture of a rarely “objectified” and ever-changing research field

  • Brings together leading researchers’ meta-reflections on the emergence and current composition of the field


Part of the Lifelong Learning Book Series book series (LLLB, volume 24)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-viii
  2. Introducing and Historicizing the Field

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 1-1
    2. Kjell Rubenson, Maren Elfert
      Pages 15-31
  3. Invisible Colleges and International Recognition

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 53-53
    2. Erik Nylander, Lovisa Österlund, Andreas Fejes
      Pages 55-72
    3. Staffan Larsson, Andreas Fejes, Lovisa Österlund, Erik Nylander
      Pages 73-97
  4. Research Approaches and Research Objects

  5. Debating International Comparative Adult Education Research

  6. Looking Ahead

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 227-227

About this book


This book discusses the current state of the art in research on the education and learning of adults, and how such research has been transformed through contemporary policy and research practices. Gathering contributions from leading experts in the field, the book draws on previous research, as well as new findings in order to provide a map of this research field and its contemporary history.

The chapters address a number of questions, including: What constitutes this research field? What theories and methodologies dominate within the field? What “invisible colleges” are active in shaping this academic field, in marking out its contours and in transforming its contemporary battle zones? Who is publishing in the field and who is deemed worth citing? What is the relationship between the shift in state policy on adult education and the research that is conducted on the education and learning of adults? How has the research field changed over time in various western countries? What do these meta-reflections of the field tell us about possible future research endeavours? 

Rather than speaking from within the field, this is a book about the research field. The diversity of the chapters provide a fascinating resource for anyone interested in research on the education and learning of adults.  



Adult education research Lifelong Learning Workplace Learning Adult Learning Research Field Sociology of education Sociology of knowledge Research policy and practice in adult learning and education

Editors and affiliations

  • Andreas Fejes
    • 1
  • Erik Nylander
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Behavioural Sciences & LearningLinköping UniversityLinköpingSweden
  2. 2.Department of Behavioural Sciences & LearningLinköping UniversityLinköpingSweden

Bibliographic information


“I recommend this book for graduate students and faculty, respectively developing as researchers and seeking to expand scholarly thought and research. The editors express their hope that the book will inspire empirical investigations and debate about the field, and upon reading, I find myself inspired and believe you will be inspired, too.” (Catherine A. Cherrstrom, Adult Education Quarterly, April 24, 2020)

“This is a worthwhile, informative read.” (Camilla Fitzsimons, Studies in the Education of Adults, Vol. 47 (2), 2019)