Adult Education, transformation and social justice

Special issue call for papers from Education + Training

Guest Editors:

Dr Vicky Duckworth, Reader in Education, Edge Hill University,

Dr Rob Smith, Reader in Education, Birmingham City University,

Dr Gary Husband, Lecturer in Professional Education and Leadership, University of Stirling,


Economic objectives for lifelong education, especially adult learning and education, feature prominently in policy-making agendas and educators’ practice in much of the globe. Critics of this dominant model argue that the education curriculum has a strong utilitarian function, which selects and distributes dominant education in different ways to different social groups, reproducing class inequalities which fail to address issues of power relations in the learners’ lives. They contend that humanistic, transformative and holistic visions of lifelong learning for all have been marginalised, silenced and neglected.

We would argue that the relevance of structural inequality, which includes class, gender and ethnicity on the learners’ trajectories, has continued importance in the era of individualising modernity (Beck 1994). For example, the concept of capitals and how they are accrued and valued are important in facilitating a more detailed analysis of different relations of power which can remain hidden and implicit in concepts such as ‘individualism’, ‘choice’ and ‘mobility’ (Giddens 1991; Beck 1992; Duckworth 2013; Ade-Ojo & Duckworth 2016, Duckworth & Smith 2017).

This special aims to give voice to the silenced, sharpening critical validating spaces, on the power of Adult Education to open up real opportunity to expose the vital transformative engine of further education in addressing inequality and barriers in learners’ lives, their families and their diverse communities.

A key aim will be to explore how the concept of transformation can be engaged and utilised in the development of adult education. Themes that may be included, though not exhaustive, may include:

  • Adult education and transformation
  • Theoretical models of transformation and their impact on practise
  • Vocational education and transformative pedagogy
  • Transformation and the wider community
  • Adult education in the global education policy agenda

Ade-Ojo, Gordon and Duckworth, V. (2016), Of cultural dissonance: the UK’s adult literacy policies and the creation of democratic learning spaces. International Journal of Lifelong Education. pp. 1-18.

Beck, U. (1992), Risk Society: Towards a new modernity. London: Sage.

Duckworth, V. (2013), Learning Trajectories, Violence and Empowerment amongst Adult Basic Skills Learners.   Research in Education. London: Routledge.

Duckworth, V & Smith, R. (2017). Women’s stories of empowerment and empowering Report. UCU

Giddens, A. (1991), Modernity and Self-identity: Self and Society in the Late Modern Age. Cambridge: Polity Press.

Submission Proceedure

Submissions to this journal are made through the ScholarOne Submission system:
Please visit the author guidelines for the journal at which gives full details. Please ensure you select the correct special issue title from the relevant drop down menu on page four of the submission process.

Submission Deadline

5th March 2018

Link to Emerald site: