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Using Biographical and Life History Approaches in the Study of Adult and Lifelong Learning: European Perspectives

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Edited By Linden West, Peter Alheit, Anders Siig Anderson and Barbara Merrill

This book illuminates the rich and creative uses of biographical and life history approaches in studying adult and lifelong learning, in diverse ways and settings, across many European countries. It draws on the work of internationally known scholars – under the auspices of the European Society for Research on the Education of Adults (ESREA) – and encompasses learning in the workplace, in families, communities, schools, colleges and universities, as well as in the professions, and in managing processes of migration and building new social movements. The reader will discover, in these pages, a compelling chronicle of the interplay of learning across people’s lives – formal, informal and intimate – and how to make sense of this, using interdisciplinary perspectives. The book will speak to researchers – new and experienced – and educators and other professionals wanting to extend their understanding of learners and learning as well as the potential of this ‘family’ of research methods.

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5 Gender: Between the Knowledge Economy and Every Day Life

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Kirsten Weber Gender in Adult Education: From Enlightenment to the Learning Economies Along with the increased European interest in Iifelong leaming as a human resource issue the cIassical political task of adult education as a means to gender equality has changed face: as lang as adult education and leaming could generally be perceived as an opportunity for vocational qualification and individual subjectification, research and policy agendas could unite in demanding and exploring the why's and the how's of 'more for more ' : more leaming for more people resulting in more democracy. Curriculum was debated in tenns of labour market demands versus individuals, method in terms of qual ification versus motivation - and gen der inequality in tenns of enlightenment. All on the backdrop of liberal policies and contested social democrat agendas of wider access. Adult education can, however, no longer be perceived simply as space for individual or collective leaming for autonomy and citizenship (e.g. OECD 1 996; Rubenson & Schuetze 2000; Rubenson 2004). Formal education as weI l as informal leaming has been allocated the over-al l political purpose that individuals in the European national states accept and live by, given a new late­ modem agenda: we are all human resources who must take it upon ourselves to develop competence, qual ification and knowledge as citizens in the European leaming and knowledge economies (EU 2000). The national states will accordingly enter into the world economy, where - through co-operation as weIl as cOlnpetition - they will globally constitute a qual...

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