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EPALE - Electronic Platform for Adult Learning in Europe


Adult Education as Empowerment Re-imagining Lifelong Learning through the Capability Approach, Recognition Theory and Common Goods Perspective

Language: EN

Posted by Petya Ilieva-Tr...

A new book entitled Adult Education as Empowerment Re-imagining Lifelong Learning through the Capability Approach, Recognition Theory and Common Goods Perspectiveauthored by Pepka Boyadjieva and Petya Ilieva-Trichkova from the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences has been published online:

Adult Education as Empowerment – Re-imagining Lifelong Learning through the Capability Approach, Recognition Theory and Common Goods Perspective | Pepka Boyadjieva | Palgrave Macmillan


About the book

This book re-imagines the essence and role of adult education at both the individual and societal levels. It provides arguments for understanding adult education as a process of agency and empowerment, which has not only instrumental but intrinsic and transformative roles to play. This book brings together ideas from the capability approach with insights from recognition theory; the embeddedness approach; the political economic perspective for understanding public and private goods and the common goods perspective. The analysis draws on data from large-scale international studies – alongside qualitative data – and adopts a wide-ranging European comparative perspective. The book develops original instruments for measuring different dimensions of adult education as a common good, and its realisation in different social contexts. It is aimed at academics, students, practitioners, and policy makers interested in adult and/or higher education and the social justice perspective to human life.

This book was prepared as part of the work on the project “Dynamics of inequalities in participation in higher and adult education: A comparative social justice perspective” (JustEdu), funded by the Bulgarian National Science Fund within National Science Program VIHREN, contract number КП-06-ДВ-2/16.12.2019.



Introduction: The Feasibility of Re-Imagining Adult Education as Empowerment

The Lifelong Learning Hybrid

The Heuristic Potential of the Capability Approach in Studying (Adult) Education

Adult Education as an Agency and Empowerment Process

The Social Embeddedness of the Capability to Participate in Adult Education

Lifelong Striving for Recognition: A Recognition Perspective Towards Adult Education

Towards a Holistic Understanding of the Missions and Roles of Adult Education

Equity for Whom, to What and Where: The Multi-Dimensional Character of Social Justice in Adult Education

Fragile Sociality: Inequalities in Access to Adult Education and Social Trust

Irreducibly Social: Rethinking Adult Education as a Common Good

Conclusion: Adult Education as an Instrument for Empowerment or Social Control?

Methodological Note: Pros and Cons of Large-Scale International Surveys



I am highly impressed with this new book by Boyadjieva and Ilieva-Trichkova. Their investigation on empowerment and adult education has been nicely executed in a rigorous way, both at the theoretical and empirical level. It combines an excellent critical account of leading sociological theories with evidence-based claims underpinned by large scale data. This book is a must-read for everyone who deeply cares about adult education and will serve as an inspiration for tomorrow’s research in the field” (Professor Ellen Boeren, University of Glasgow, UK)

This is an outstanding contribution to the conceptualization and analysis of adult education and its significance for individuals, communities, and societies. The authors creatively combine discussion and development of theory with empirical analysis of cross-national data. The result is a book full of important insights and perspectives, really valuable to scholars and students as well as to stakeholders and practitioners in adult education” (Palle Rasmussen, Emeritus Professor, Aalborg University, Denmark)


Resource Author(s): 
Pepka Boyadjieva; Petya Ilieva-Trichkova
adult education, lifelong learning, empowerment, capability approach, recognition theory, embeddedness approach, common goods, social justice
Publication Date:
Thursday, 1 April, 2021
Language of the document:
Type of resource: 
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