International Perspectives in Different Countries
The International Quest for Changing Configurations in Transitional Times
Bernd Käpplinger & Steffi Robak
1. An introduction or the paradox of observing constantly fundamental change
There seems to be a paradox existing in adult education. Adult educators and researchers in the different fields of adult education are constantly occupied with change, transformations and transitions. But if change and transition are constantly reported, does this mean that the field is by its very nature constantly changing and the notions “change” and “transition” are somehow an odd rehearsal of the same song? Are the changes really every time as new as reported and as fundamental as proclaimed or do we sometimes just put “new wine into old skins”? The diverse fields of practice seem to demand new innovations constantly. The academic community claims paradigm shifts (in German “Wenden”) and new approaches in rapid succession, which makes oneself rather dizzy. Plecas/Sork (1986, p. 50) described almost 30 years ago “the ills of an undisciplined discipline” as “defnimania … the tendency to re-define what has already been defined” and “lexicophilia … an irrational desire to embrace new terminology”.
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