Qualification, socialisation and/or subjectification – three international organisations’ prioritisation of the purposes of adult education and learning from the 1970s to the 2010s

Anne Larson*, Pia Seidler Cort

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

The article examines the purposes UNESCO, OECD and EU historically have attributed to adult education and learning. The aim is to explore changes in international adult education and learning policies from the 1970s until the present day and outline how different international organisations have pushed for specific conceptualisations of what ‘adult education and learning is good for’. The analysis draws on Biesta’s domains of educational purpose to demonstrate how the functions of adult education and learning have changed as the welfare state has transformed into a neoliberal competition state. Based on an analysis of key policy documents, the article shows how each of the organisations has sought to set an agenda in line with its founding visions. UNESCO pushing for an agenda centred on subjectification and the aim of empowering the individual, but also including strong elements of both qualification and socialisation. OECD, on the other hand, having a more narrow understanding, seeing the purpose of adult education and learning as qualification for the labour market as part of a growth ideology. Finally, EU pushing both socialisation of European citizens and labour market qualifications. The analysis shows how, over the decades, adult education and learning policy has narrowed to focus on a primarily instrumental purpose, which creates new attributed meaning for both the purpose of socialisation and subjectification.
Translated title of the contributionKvalificering, socialisering og/eller subjektificering - tre internationale organisationers prioritering af formålene med voksenuddannelse og læring - fra 170'erne til 2010'erne
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Lifelong Education
Volume41
Issue1
Pages (from-to)91-106
Number of pages16
ISSN0260-1370
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Keywords

  • Adult education
  • Lifelong learning
  • Adult education policy
  • Biesta's domains of educational purpose
  • adult education policy
  • biesta’s domains of educational purpose
  • lifelong learning
  • UNESCO
  • biesta's domains of educational purpose
  • POLICIES
  • CONSTRUCTION
  • LIFELONG
  • CITIZEN

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