Book CoverLifelong Learning in Europe I: Options for the Integration of Living, Learning and Working


Walther, Andreas/Stauber, Barbara (eds.) 1998: Lifelong Learning in Europe / Lebenslanges Lernen in Europa. Volume 1. Options for the Integration of Living, Learning and Working / Optionen für die Integration von Leben, Lernen und Arbeiten. Neuling: Tübingen. (ISBN 3-922859-50-X)

This book documents the main proceedings of the first European Conference 'Lifelong Learning in Europe' in Dresden 1996, see conference page.

The first two authors draw the horizon of lifelong learning in the perspective of general social theory between the poles of biography and subjective on the one end and the process of globalisation, i.e. the de-contextualization of learning demands, on the other end or in other words: between individual demands of adaptation and challenges of public action.

Lothar Böhnisch poses the new learning demands in the context of biographisation leading - parallely to the functional expectations of individualisation - to the self being the centre of biographical options and risks. Lifelong learning also implies ,biographical integrity' which the author illuminates in its societal, subjective and gender-specific dimensions questioning the conditions for ,integrity work' necessary for social participation.

Phil Brown discusses the concept of lifelong learning in the macro-context of the dissolution and re-structuring of fordist production and education systems. In their reactions to flexibilized and globalised structures of economic competition he differentiates between neo-fordist - merely de-regulating - and post-fordist - that is the social shaping of flexibilization - strategies also to be found in the educational systems. With ,collective intelligence' he develops a guiding line for a post-fordist educational programme which beyond bureaucratic closing mechanisms develops the resources and competences of the individuals in manifold ways.


The second section starts from the labour market as pacesetter of the de-standardization of learning contents - thus following the official discourse.

Jyri Manninen elaborates with a critical perspective a typology of educational programmes under the title of lifelong learning, which separates between reactive, proactive and innovative learning. The classification depends on how learning is conceptualized: as adoption of the learners to already realized or previewed changes in the world of labour or as active creation of such changes by the learners. Realistically most of the measures are belonging to the first category, whereas the third seems to be very seldom and mostly reserved for those who already have a relatively high degree of education at their disposal.

Peter Herrmann is discussing future perspectives of education and employment in the context of a growing „third sector" of unions, cooperatives resp. 'non-governmental organizations' (NGO´s). Those actors normally were ignored as labour market actors. Unjustified, as they are offering, often in a better way than the actors on the formal labour market, their employees the possibility to make compatible learning and working.

Georg Weinmann integrates lifelong learning in the context of the informational society - an ambivalent context in his opinion, because it is at the same time reason and force for always more further training as well as it facilitates this permanent adaptions and makes them easier. The latter is seen rather critically by the author, as learning institutions aren´t equiped adequately as regards technical infrastructure, and as there are social barriers of access to these institutions.


The third section indicates that the perspective on labour market is inadmissibly narrowed if it doesn´t take into account the pluralisation of learning biographies. The latter are de-standardized within their dependence on labour market, but in the other hand individuals are defining conditions under which they are willing to participate in educational measures: the conditions of biographical importance and compatibility.

This aspect appears clearly in the contribution of Manuela du Bois-Reymond, who discusses life concepts of young adults in the context of subjective educational planning. The appropriation of new competences is realized in the context of biographical perspectives - orientated at the gender-specific "normal" life course or in broadening the actual subjective situation. Based on qualitatively gained empirical data she distinguishes on the level of gender between the life concepts of young women and men, on the level of education between the "cultural trendsetters" and the "normalized".

Manuela Gallerani continues the concept of "young adults" with the example of the italian situation. Her focus lays on the contradiction between the "complexe knowledge" required in modern societies and the institutional structure of the educational system, which still depends on the principle of equality of formal education.

Susan Lace introduces a possibility to make the access to studies biographically "fitting": the example of the british "Access programmes". The experiences "access students" made till now are a good basis to formulate concrete demands to the until today vague concept of lifelong learning.

Arno Heimgartner sensibilizes with the results of his empirical research on older workers in the Steiermark for demands on further training strategies which take into account the existing - open or subtil - hierarchies between the generations in working processes.


The fourth section is dedicated to the relation between learning and culture resp. the pluralisation of learning cultures.

In the contribution of Thomas Ziehe the main focus lays less on the change of learning with regard to the individual life course but more on the different shapes of learning between generations. The modernisation of society in the form of medialization and shattering of daily life have an effect on young people's perception and interpretation of reality and therefore on the development of a new learning culture. From that results the demand, that processes of education have to produce and to impart experiences of foreignness/strangeness.

Paulina Chiwangu discusses the perspectives of a multicultural society in the tension between general values and difference. More than a decision between those two poles the individual ability to act requires competences to go around with this tension. Lifelong learning therefore has to impart experiences of differences within processes of intercultural communication.

Anna Aluffi Pentini shows with the example of an intercultural centre for immigrants in Rome, that only an extended comprehension of learning could describe adequately the competences demanded within intercultural working processes. She enlightens within this context the meaning of lifelong learning to characterize it as a basis for the development of an own professional identity.


The diversification of learning processes resp. educational programmes, closely linked to biographisation, expresses itself within a pluralization, opening and linking-up of learning sites. The contributions in the fifth section show that learning sites include material/spacial references (with different effects on cognitive processes), as well as culturally meaningful and politically conflictory social references as a frame of learning processes.

Norbert Seel discusses the scholary-pedagogical implications of the concept 'situated cognition. This discussion takes place between the loss of significance of formalized, generalized learning in favour of learning concepts more orientated at the learner´s daily life. The objection, that the situational dependence of cognition will be overestimated and more general learning processes be prevented, leads to a modified concept of 'contextualized-complexe-authentic-social-learning-surrounding'.

Rob F.Poell shows that also in learning processes closely bound at working places there are existing various possibilities to organize learning experiences. His contribution allows the optimistic resumen, that processes of adaptation thoroughly could be imagined in the other way: as adaptation of workplaces to the learner´s/worker´s competences and learning experiences. This would make sense in the context of lifelong learning.

Pia Deleuran investigates trials as social spaces, where advocates do (resp. do not) learn competences of conflict solution, but which at the same time show gender-hierarchical structures of social relations. As communicative competences aren´t anchored within juridical education, it is up to the practice of each advocate to gain those competences. Is the increasing part of women a chance to enhance the meaning of those competences?

In the contribution of Liz Kenyon the indirect relation between social space and processes of education is examined by forms of student´s life. If lifelong learning implicates more and more different learning biographies, this means an increasing number of students, who don´t take part of the "classic" student´s milieux. The subjective meaning of learning develops new forms of student´s life.

Paul Burgess presents with the example of the educational programme of Cork (Ireland) a model of 'community education', which organizes the access to educational measures as well as their contents in a community-related way. They impart their inhabitants perspectives of social integration, which atach to their own life situation and which facilitate new infrastructures, thus contributing to urban/regional development.


The sixth section refers mainly to structures and processes of social unequality in the access to lifelong learning, to institutional trials to get over them and to subjective patterns of interpretation and coping.

The contributions of Andy Biggart and Juan Jesús Viscarret examine - each with special notions - the effects of nearly no more existing labour markets for young women and men on their "staying" in the schoolish system. But a more differenciated view on different life contexts is worthwhile, as shows the article of Biggart: they are producing different forms of staying, out of rare alternatives, but also to ameliorate labour market perspectives.

The first variant, as argues Mark Cieslik in his contribution, refering on results of a qualitative study in South Wales, concerns mainly to young women and men, which are confronted at the same time with various barriers with regard to participation in labour market and educational motivation. Higher education often is their only perspective, but at the same time they are concient about not getting better employment perspectives by education.

Gabriele Lenzi and Morena Cuconato show with a similar background that further education of young italian women and men is creating better options of work only to a limited extent resp. in the longer run. They compare institutional possibilities, which are opened by the german "Kinder- und Jugendhilfegesetz", with the situation of youth and educational policy in Italy.


The seventh and last section asks for political implications of the 'learning society'. If learning has to be socially organized in another way, the question of responsabilities has to be changed.

Gisela Notz reactivates with her analyse of still resisting gender hierarchies in (further) educational systems the concept of critical-social competence as central objective of educational and social policy. To reach it, all societal actors have to take responsibility.

The meaning of critical-social competence as broad demand of education appears specially in the context of new media and technologies. Those are the subjects of Enzo Morgagni and Luigi Guerra:

Whereas Morgagni is discussing the question of political responsibility for learning contents and chances of participation between state, individuals, market actors and particularly actors of the third sector, which has to take necessary filter-fuctions, Guerra sees the general change of balance of learning relations, caused by individualizing effects of the dealing with media. The learing of this dealing has to be socially embedded, so that individuals are able to differenciate between more or less useful informations.

The question of political responsibility is posed also by Burkhard Sellin for the area of professional training in the context of vocational training policy of the European Union. Cooperation, exchange, but also the mutual challenge between different national systems lead to changs. This appears specially with regard to the 'modularization' of vocational training in single competences - a programme, which is favourized on the European level. The new regulation of responsibilities and resources, which is closely linked to this, is confronted with institutional structures in the different member states with different persistence.

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