NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ1176250
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2018-Apr
Pages: 41
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: EISSN-1740-2743
From 'Empowerment' to 'Compliance': Neoliberalism and Adult Literacy Provision in Australia
Black, Stephen
Journal for Critical Education Policy Studies, v16 n1 p104-144 Apr 2018
This article contrasts educational discourses and their associated policy and practice in the field of adult literacy in two sociopolitical eras in Australia: firstly, the social-democratic era that describes the beginnings of adult literacy as a distinct educational field from the late 1970s, and in particular the 1980s; and secondly, the neoliberal era that first strongly influenced the field from the early 1990s, and has reached its zenith in the contemporary state of the field. The terms 'empowerment' and 'compliance' are used in a reductionist way to describe the key discourses underpinning adult literacy provision in these two eras. The language of empowerment was popular with policy makers and literacy educators in the social-democratic era of free courses in a public education system. In the subsequent neoliberal era, while 'compliance' may not feature much in the language of policy makers and literacy educators, it nevertheless accurately describes the overarching process of what contemporary adult literacy provision does to teachers and students. In working towards nationally accredited curriculum outcomes, adult literacy educators and their students can be seen primarily to comply with the dominant industry and productivity agendas that underpin the curriculum. There are now few spaces for an empowering adult literacy education.
Institute for Education Policy Studies. University of Northampton, School of Education, Boughton Green Road, Northampton, NN2 7AL, UK. Tel: +44-1273-270943; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Australia
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A