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Routledge International Companion to Education by Bob Moon, Sally Brown, Miriam Ben-Peretz

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38

ADULT EDUCATION

Social movements or public service?

Tom Steele

 

 

 

 

INTRODUCTION: THE VIEW FROM YORKSHIRE

When J. F. C. Harrison wrote his seminal study of the history of the English adult education movement, Learning and Living 1790–1960 (1961) he had no doubt that adult education was a movement which had participated centrally in the shaping of the institutions of mass democracy in Britain. As such, Harrison added, it should be separated from the subordinate idea of the ‘education of adults’. It was not simply a series of largely voluntary organisations but an instrument of personal liberation and social justice. Adult education was an earnest business not to be confused with the ‘learning for leisure’ rhetoric (then fashionable in ministerial ...

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