ERIC Number: ED481581
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2001-Jun
Reference Count: N/A
The Political Economy of Civil Society: Implications for Adult and Community Education.
Adult education theory and practice has long been involved in identifying spaces where counter-hegemonic learning can take place. Civil society is regarded as the site par-excellence for providing space in which to learn free from power and domination and from the state and economy. Another dimension to the recent focus on civil society as a site for learning and social change is the crisis of socialism and social democracy, both political movements derived from the Marxist tradition. Civil society has historically been situated in relation to the state (political society) and the market (economic society) as found in the writings of Cicero, Hobbes, Ferguson and Smith. Modern conceptions of civil society--particularly those of Marx, Gramsci, Habermas, Cohen and Arato were based in Hegel's work. Learning in civil society can have distinct objectives. The traditional socialist objective is transformation of capitalism; radical democracy's objective is furtherance of democratic practices. These aims share a belief that modern society is characterized by conflict. For socialists, conflict is between classes; for radical democrats, conflict is between these two forms of societal integration: social and system. Notions of social conflict impact on and clarify the role and value attached to adult education as an activity in civil society. Adult educators must be careful in appropriating a concept like civil society. Lack of analysis of political economy can lead to uncritical acceptance of ideas that can blind them to the real workings of power in society. Civil society need not be rejected as a theoretical and practical endeavor, but it must be problematized. (Contains 22 references.) (YLB)
Descriptors: Adult Education, Adult Educators, Adult Learning, Community Education, Conflict, Democracy, Educational Change, Educational Practices, Educational Theories, Empowerment, Marxism, Political Power, Politics, Popular Education, Power Structure, Role of Education, Social Change, Social Integration, Socialism, Theory Practice Relationship
For full text: http://www.edst.educ.ubc.ca/aerc/2001/2001murphy.htm.
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A