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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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15 Biographical and Life History Approaches: Cornmonalities and Differences in the Study of Adult and Lifelong Leaming

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1 5 Biographical and Life History Approaches: Cornmonalities and Differences in the Study of Adult and Lifelong Leaming Linden West, Barbara Merrill and Anders Siig Andersen, with Kirsten Weber and Henning Salling Olesen. Commonalities and Differences This book has i l lustrated, in fine detail , the use and potential of biographical, l ife history or narrative approaches in building deeper forms of understanding of processes of adult and lifelong leaming - formal , informal, incidental and intimate - and their relationship, in diverse settings. The book offers many examples of the wealth of biographical and li fe history research, and its unique potential to illuminate people 's lives and their interaction with the social world, and the interplay of history and micro worlds, in struggles for agency and meaning in lives. And to illuminate the interplay of different experiences and forms of leaming - from the most intimate to the most formal - in ways that challenge bureaucratic distinctions in leaming and the tendency to compartmentalise experience. Clearly the book reflects the changing nature and boundaries of adult education, or adult and lifelong leaming, as it flows through different and diverse sites, in a lifewide as weil as lifelong sense. There is a rich tapestry of research and reflection woven into the chapters, covering widely different contexts - leaming at work, in families, in political movements , in therapy, as weil as in more formal educational settings - and drawing on various disciplinary influences and methodological assumptions. There are obvious differences in...

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