© 2017

Adult Education in Neoliberal Times

Policies, Philosophies and Professionalism


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xi
  2. Historical and Political Contexts for Adult Education

  3. Adult Educators’ Working Lives Researched

  4. Back Matter
    Pages 171-200

About this book


This book explores the realities of adult education practice in the current political and economic climate. With a particular focus on examining the effect of the multitude of changes in policy and philosophy over the past 30 years, the book explores how the values and career expectations of adult educators have been affected, and considers the implications for adult education as a field of professional practice. As well as exploring the broader international picture, the book draws on the findings of recent research into adult and community education practitioners’ perspectives in two case study countries – England and Aotearoa/New Zealand – to illustrate how local contexts and cultures, as well as global trends, impact  on the structure and organisation of adult education. By presenting the perspectives of adult educators, whose voices have been relatively absent from the recent literature, this book gives a unique insight into how their work has been adversely affected by funding and policy pressures in an increasingly insecure educational environment, and analyses their responses to the contradictions between their professional values and the expectations placed upon them by policy and funding changes. It will be of great interest to students and researchers working in Education and Sociology, and will also make compelling reading for policy-makers.


community education neoliberalization adult educators professional practice lifelong learning

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.University of BirminghamBirminghamUnited Kingdom

About the authors

Marion Bowl is Senior Lecturer in Education at the University of Birmingham, UK. She has over 30 years’ experience developing, managing and researching adult and community education practice and policy in the UK, West Africa and New Zealand.

Bibliographic information


“Adult Education in Neoliberal Times is a useful analysis of some adult educators’ voices. It would be particularly helpful for policymakers, scholars, and practitioners. It might be a worthy challenging read for students studying AE.” (Khalaf Mohamed, Adult Education Quarterly, March, 2019)