© 2018

The Palgrave International Handbook on Adult and Lifelong Education and Learning

  • Marcella Milana
  • Sue Webb
  • John Holford
  • Richard Waller
  • Peter Jarvis

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xvi
  2. Marcella Milana, Sue Webb, John Holford, Richard Waller, Peter Jarvis
    Pages 1-8
  3. Thinking and Rethinking the Field

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 9-12
    2. Palle Rasmussen
      Pages 93-109
    3. Terri Seddon
      Pages 111-131
    4. Emilio Lucio-Villegas
      Pages 151-168
    5. Henning Salling Olesen
      Pages 169-189
    6. Tonette S. Rocco, Sunny L. Munn, Joshua C. Collins
      Pages 227-244
    7. Alan Brown, Jenny Bimrose
      Pages 245-265
    8. Pepka Boyadjieva, Petya Ilieva-Trichkova
      Pages 267-288
  4. Scale and Movement

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 309-313

About this book


This Handbook provides a wide-ranging frame of reference for researching adult and lifelong education and learning. With contributions from scores of established and newer scholars from six continents, the volume covers a diverse range of geopolitical and social territories across the world. Drawing on the multiple  heritages that underpin research on education and learning in adulthood, this Handbook addresses the inner tensions between adult education, adult learning, lifelong education, and lifelong learning, by using current research and theorizations from disciplinary  backgrounds, including philosophy, psychology, biology and neuroscience, anthropology, sociology, history, political science, and economics. It provides an explicit discussion of the differences and tensions between adult and lifelong education and learning, and locates these in different policy and historical contexts, theories and practices. It explores a variety of discipline-based theoretical perspectives, and highlights how these have influenced, and been influenced by, research in the education and learning of adults. The Handbook also explores the inevitable frictions and dilemmas these present, and carefully examines the role of the international dimension in researching education and learning in formal, non-formal and informal contexts, beyond traditional schooling.

This state-of-the-art, comprehensive Handbook is the first of its kind to explore adult education, lifelong education and lifelong learning fully as distinct activities on an international scale. It will be an indispensable reference resource for students of education at undergraduate and postgraduate levels, and for academic researchers, professionals and policy-makers concerned with adult and community education, further and vocational education, or work-based training and human resource development.    


Critical Adult Education Theory equity literacy global policy university lifelong learning

Editors and affiliations

  • Marcella Milana
    • 1
  • Sue Webb
    • 2
  • John Holford
    • 3
  • Richard Waller
    • 4
  • Peter Jarvis
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of Human SciencesUniversity of VeronaVeronaItaly
  2. 2.Faculty of EducationMonash UniversityClaytonAustralia
  3. 3.School of EducationUniversity of NottinghamNottinghamUnited Kingdom
  4. 4.Department of Education and ChildhoodUniversity of the West of EnglandBristolUnited Kingdom
  5. 5.Department of PoliticsUniversity of SurreyGuildfordUnited Kingdom

About the editors

Marcella Milana is Associate Professor at the University of Verona, Italy.

Sue Webb is Professor of Education at Monash University, Australia.

John Holford is Robert Peers Professor of Adult Education at the University of Nottingham, UK.

Richard Waller is Associate Professor of the Sociology of Education at the University of the West of England, Bristol, UK.

Peter Jarvis is Emeritus Professor of Continuing Education at the University of Surrey, UK.

Bibliographic information


“This is a timely book that helps situate our field in a world committed to 2015 Sustainable Development Goals. I commend the editors for providing a truly international collection of perspectives on adult education and learning. To their credit, they have given us a delightful mix of new and more senior voices in the field, from multiple nations, resulting in a rich and textured examination of key issues before us. This is very welcome edition.” (Leona M. English, Professor of Adult Education, St. Francis Xavier University, Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada)

“The International Handbook on Adult and Lifelong Education and Learning is an unmissable reference for students and researchers interested in rethinking the field. The result of an ambitious collective endeavour, its innovative structure offers a variety of theoretical and conceptual approaches, new research insights, policy debates and the study of tensions at a range of analytical scales and geographies. It is a valuable scholarly piece of literature in the best tradition of adult education internationalism and criticism.” (Licínio C. Lima, Professor of Education, University of Minho, Portugal)

“This text is the go-to-handbook when it comes to making sense of international issues facing lifelong learning and adult education. It offers both a contemporary and interdisciplinary analysis that will provoke students to reflect deeply the about nature, purpose and meaning of the field.” (Edward W. Taylor, Professor of Lifelong Learning and Adult Education, Penn State University, USA)

“This important collection contributes a critical overview and analysis of the field of adult and lifelong education and learning. The book provides a range of disciplinary, theoretical and international perspectives, offering rich insights on a range of pertinent and urgent themes and issues of our times. The book invites the reader to engage in reconceptualisation and critique across different contexts and epistemologies, providing a much-needed space for stimulating our methodological, pedagogical and theoretical imaginations.” (Penny Jane Burke, Global Innovation Chair of Equity & Director, Centre of Excellence for Equity in Higher Education (CEEHE))