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ERIC Number: EJ1066962
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Aug
Pages: 19
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0741-7136
Individual Autonomy or Social Engagement? Adult Learners in Neoliberal Times
McLean, Scott
Adult Education Quarterly: A Journal of Research and Theory, v65 n3 p196-214 Aug 2015
Numerous scholars have documented and critiqued the predominance of neoliberal policies and rationalities shaping adult and continuing education around the world. Contemporary sociologists have argued that neoliberal citizens are characterized by hyperindividuality and a strong sense of personal autonomy. Self-help reading is widely viewed as one of the most neoliberal forms of adult learning. In this article, we challenge recent claims about the autonomy of the neoliberal subject through reporting results of qualitative research undertaken with 134 readers of self-help books. Using an innovative approach to explore people's self-characterizations, we argue that contemporary patterns of subjectivity may be more complex and socially engaged than those implied by prevailing accounts of our neoliberal times. Our findings are important for those seeking to understand the changing nature of adult learners, and for those seeking to understand the complex interplay of discourse and subjectivity in the contemporary field of adult education.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Adult Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Canada
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A