From Adult Education to Lifelong Learning and Back Again

  • Richard G. Edwards
Part of the Lifelong Learning Book Series book series (LLLB, volume 11)

Over the last ten to fifteen years, there has been an increasing ordering of the practices of post-school education and training within a discourse of lifelong learning. This is particularly the case in the OECD countries and in those transnational organisations, such as the OECD and EU. While this discourses itself is not new, the significance of its uptake and by whom has resulted in a challenge to some of the traditional conceptions of adult education. Here there is an attempt to reframe the educational discourse through policy-led approaches, which also appeal to those who have long supported learning that takes place outside of educational institutions. This challenge has had various and varying effects around the globe, dependent in part on the nature of those established traditions and the relative strength of different interest groups and their educational starting points and priorities. This chapter will draw upon aspects of poststructuralism and actor network theory to discuss the ways in which adult education is reordered – both brought forth and regulated - through the discourses of lifelong learning. In the process, it will discuss the ways in which discourses of learning ambiguously both reinforce the power of educational institutions as the authorisers of worthwhile learning through assessment and challenge that authority by positioning learning as part of all social practices. It will argue that there is a need to reinvigorate an educational discourse around curriculum and pedagogy in response to current emphases on learning.


Social Order Lifelong Learning Adult Education Critical Pedagogy Disciplinary Practice 
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Copyright information

© Springer 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard G. Edwards
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of EducationUniversity of StirlingScotland

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