International Perspectives in Different Countries
Adult Education in the Danish Modernization Process
Henning Salling Olesen
Danish adult education has an old and rich tradition, and has also been fundamentally reconstructed and differentiated during second half of the 20th century. The aim of this article is to provide an input for a discussion about the situation of a Danish (Nordic) model of adult education in the context of European policy as well as globalization. The article will seek to conceptualize the tension between adult education which is founded in and aiming at local participants and contexts and a globalization process which redefines the cultural environment and presents a new and challenging agenda for adult learning. I will apply a rather general framework of historical analysis of adult education which is derived from and related to European modernization (Salling Olesen 2009) on the history of Danish adult education and the possible contemporary impacts of this history (Salling Olesen 1985;1989). It looks at the societal nature of adult learning and hence the societal functions of adult education, and emphasizes the historical dimension in the sense of linking adult education to local socioeconomic, political, and cultural dynamics. Having done that I will return to the question about how we can see adult education in the context of globalization.
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