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Changing Configurations in Adult Education in Transitional Times

International Perspectives in Different Countries


Bernd Käpplinger and Steffi Robak

Change and transition are prominent buzzwords in the discourse upon adult education. International conferences like the European ESREA triennial research conference 2013 in Berlin focused on these terms. But is to deal with change and transitions really something new for adult education? What is new? What has changed? Which kind of transitions do we experience and how can we systematically observe and analyse them as researchers nowadays? This anthology wants to stimulate an exchange beyond buzzwords and European perspectives and investigate what these terms could mean for research in terms of institutionalisation and professionalization in adult education in different national contexts. Therefore, distinguished scholars were invited to contribute to this anthology.
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Adult Education in the Danish Modernization Process


Henning Salling Olesen

1. Introduction

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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