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The State, Civil Society and the Citizen

Exploring Relationships in the Field of Adult Education in Europe


Edited By Michal Bron Jr., Paula Guimarães and Rui Vieira de Castro

This book contributes to the setting out of a new, better informed and complex basis for discussions about the relationships between the State, the civil society and the citizen in distinct European countries and regions. It will be useful to researchers in the field of adult education, as well as social scientists interested in topics related to civil society, such as NGOs, social economists, and practitioners concerned with the trends that are forcing adult education to recontextualise its aims and practices.


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PART II The State, civil society and the citizen. Towards a cosmopolitan adult education?


Chapter 2 Civil society and the State. Some implications for adult education Jim Crowther and Ian Martin “Education for citizenship” presupposes a critical understanding of the limita- tions of its own contemporary definition (Carr & Hartnett, 1996, p. 72). The central issue concerns the way we conceptualise the political community and how we belong to it, i.e. citizenship. The political community should be conceived as a discursive surface and not as an empirical referent (Mouffe, 1993, p. 81). “In and against the State”: The original argument In 1979, just as the first Thatcher government in the UK came to power, a group of socialist welfare state professionals, who identified themselves collectively as the London-Edinburgh Weekend Return Group, published a pamphlet called In and against the State. A fuller version of this pamphlet was subsequently pub- lished as a book (LEWRG, 1979). The original purpose of In and against the State was to examine the con- tradictory positioning of professional workers within the education, health and welfare apparatus of the State in late British capitalism – and to explore the problems and the possibilities of working both in and against the State. Workers were in the State as beneficiaries or employees but against the capitalist social relationships it represented and reinforced. By this it is meant the way class was ignored, problems were individualised or rooted in particular communities, rela- tionships of authority were fostered rather than democratised, and structural is- sues of poverty and inequality were denied. In short, these relationships divided...

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