Globalisation, democracy and adult learning
The field of adult learning and education has a rich and diverse history, and those of us working in the field are privileged to be able to draw on a range of traditions. This paper identifies some of these traditions, describes some features of globalisation and analyses its impact on adult learning and education. Drawing on the findings of a large-scale project which looks at programme trends and patterns in one city in Aotearoa/New Zealand in the 1980s and 1990s in the light of government policies, the paper examines whether we are losing touch with some of these traditions as a consequence of increasing globalisation. In particular my concern is that democratic traditions may be lost as corporations and governments seek to reduce the scope of adult learning programmes and as those of us working in the field find ourselves driven to conform with neo-liberal policies that rest on ideologies of instrumental rationalism and abstract individualism. The paper concludes by reviewing key policy initiatives and posing questions concerning possibilities for the future.