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


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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Notes on Contributors


Dr Linden West is Reader in Education in the Department of Educational Research at Canterbury Christ Church University, UK and Co-Director of the Centre for International Studies of Diversity and Participation. His books include Beyond Fragments and Doctors on the Edge. Linden co-ordinates the Biographical and Life History Research Network of ESREA and is a member of the Society's Steering Committee. He is presently working on families and their learning, using autolbiographical perspectives. He is also a qualified psychoanalytic psychotherapist. Dr Anders Siig Andersen is Associate Professor at the Department of Educational Studies, Roskilde University, Denmark. He teaches in The Graduate School in Lifelong Learning. His main research interests are the interplay between the work place as a learning environment and learning in life history, educational reforms in adult education and qualitative methodology. He has publ ished extensively within this research field, including two recent books Educational re(orms and life history (with Finn M. Sommer) and Biography and interpretative social science (with Betina Dausien and Kirsten Larsen). Dr Peter Alheit, PhD in Phi losophy of Religion and PhD in Sociology, is currently Professor of General Education at Goettingen University (Germany) and one of the initiators of biographical research in German sociology and educati6n as weil as co-founder of the ESREA Life history and biography research network. His books and articles on biographical methods have been selectively translated into more than 1 0 languages. Dr Barbara Merrill is a Senior Lecturer in the Centre for Lifelong Learning at the University...

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