Current: Volume 40 (2017)

 International Comparative Adult Education Research

List of content volume 40

Referring to an article concerning historical development, current discourses and future perspectives of international comparative adult education research, that was published in volume 39 of the International Yearbook of Adult Education, the current volume 40 provides a forum for a debate on development and organization of the field: The authors address questions of theoretical and methodological approaches, topics and purposes of international comparative adult education research from the perspective of different countries (Australia, USA, Italy, Spain, Germany).

 


Articles Volume 40:

 

Marcella Milana

Global and Comparative Adult Education Research: A Response to John Field, Klaus Kunzel and Michael Schemmann

In this contribution I respond to a few of the theses that John Field, Klaus Künzel and Michael Schemmann offered to further debate in the 2016 International Yearbook of Adult Education. Particularly, I discuss the complexities embedded in pairing terms and concepts in adult education scholarship that adopts a comparative perspective or mind-set. Then, I react to three of the authors’ theses that collectively address the relation between the units of analysis and the research purpose; a purpose that they see as in a transition that is essentially connected with the demise of central governments power in all spheres of public interests, including education. In extreme synthesis, I concur with the authors’ claim that we need to rethink the units (plural) of comparative analysis; yet I argue for territorially bound units to be still relevant. I conclude that the current state of Comparative Adult Education Research opens for new and underexplored opportunities, and suggest that adult education researchers shall escape the trap of either imposing or rejecting the country as their main unit of comparative analysis, so as to engage in deeper considerations of what units of analysis would best serve their comparative research aspirations, clarify their hierarchical order, and how they relate to each others.

 

Bernd Käpplinger

Standing on the Shoulders of Giants – Building on Existing Knowledge

The paper contributes to a discussion stimulated by a paper form Field, Künzel & Schemmann in 2016. There will be in a new way tribute paid to key arguments from Roby Kidd in 1975, why somebody should engage in comparative adult education research and what could be its benefits. Arguments are reaching from learning about ‘others’, learning mutually and to learning about oneself when comparing. Being aware of power struggles and vested interests in comparisons is considered as being essentially. Researchers should critically reflect on their own positioning within it, which is only partly meant as relating to governance. Broader perspectives beyond governance are strongly encouraged.

 

Richard Desjardins

A Perspective on the Use of Large Scale Efforts in Comparative Adult Education Research

This paper discusses some of the merits and challenges associated with a systemic approach to comparative adult education research which builds on the use of large scale efforts. It is partly in response to an article in last year’s issue of the International Yearbook of Adult Education which discussed the future of International Comparative Adult Education Research. The article by Field, Kunzel and Schemmann (2016) problematized the purpose and value of large scale surveys that relate to the field of adult education, and even questioned whether studies such as the Survey of Adult Skills (also known as PIAAC – the Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies) and the Adult Education Survey (AES) comprise comparative adult education research at all. This raises several issues related to the relationship between large scale research efforts on adult education and the comparative adult education research community, as well as more general issues in social science surrounding the framing and interpretation of empirical data for evaluative and analytical purposes.

 

Antoni Verger

Globalization and its Main Challenges in Comparative (Adult) Education

Globalization has introduced important challenges in comparative education, which encourage researchers to revisit their methodological and theoretical approaches. In this paper, I focus on three of the most relevant challenges that comparative education faces in an increasingly globalized education policy field, namely: a) The way transnational policy transfer dynamics are transforming education institutions and practices worldwide; b) The erosion of the nation-state as the main unit of analysis in comparative studies; c) The changing role and influence of international organisations in the education policy field, mainly through bid-data management tools and strategies.

 

Sue Webb

Narratives of Migration for Reframing Adult Education for Equity in Mobile Times

The growth of transnational migration suggests another frame is needed to analyse comparative adult education that can reflect these new mobilities. Adult education researchers have drawn attention to the neglect of issues that affect immigrants as they seek to find employment and integrate in their new locations. These researchers have also argued that in times of increased mobility adult education needs reframing to promote for social justice. This chapter contributes to this re-framing. Adopting a narrative analysis of local policy actors, this chapter addresses how particular sets of ideas and practices in relation to migrants and their integration have become privileged. The chapter reveals two contrasting narratives of migration that show how migrants are positioned in relation to adult education and learning; one narrative encourages greater intercultural learning and integration between new migrants and the host communities and the other encourages practices that negate the expertise of new migrants and increase inequalities. Discussion of these narratives illuminates new lines of sight to explore transnational experiences for reframing adult education for equity in mobile times.

 

Carolin Knauber

Basic Education for Adults as a Responsibility of the Welfare State: A Comparison of Policies in Austria, Denmark and England.

The growth of transnational migration suggests another frame is needed to analyse comparative adult education that can reflect these new mobilities. Adult education researchers have drawn attention to the neglect of issues that affect immigrants as they seek to find employment and integrate in their new locations. These researchers have also argued that in times of increased mobility adult education needs reframing to promote for social justice. This chapter contributes to this re-framing. Adopting a narrative analysis of local policy actors, this chapter addresses how particular sets of ideas and practices in relation to migrants and their integration have become privileged. The chapter reveals two contrasting narratives of migration that show how migrants are positioned in relation to adult education and learning; one narrative encourages greater intercultural learning and integration between new migrants and the host communities and the other encourages practices that negate the expertise of new migrants and increase inequalities. Discussion of these narratives illuminates new lines of sight to explore transnational experiences for reframing adult education for equity in mobile times.

 

Timm C. Feld

Volunteer Activities in Continuing Education Facilities – Significance, Challenges and Organizational Consequences.

Volunteer engagement is subject to a noticeable rise in awareness and attention. Overall, volunteers not only contribute by fulfilling specific tasks, but they also promote inclusion, social cohesion and democracy. Volunteers, therefore, make a vital contribution to preserving a civil society. However, because of societal transformation and modernization processes, volunteer work is undergoing perceptible structural and functional changes that will require institutions that use volunteers to change or adapt their organizational, structural, and cultural forms. This is where the present paper picks up. Using current empirical materials, it analyzes how this evident strains in volunteer engagement impact the continuing education field. The goal is to make explicit that volunteering in continuing education institutions, in an often highly relevant and varied way, contributes significantly to the delivery of specific services by continuing education institutions. Proceeding from there, it will also be shown, however, that there are problems and challenges in the volunteer work context that increasingly cause the continuing education institutions to devise new forms of volunteer-related management and configuration practices.