23 SES 12 B, Radical Social Theory for Radical Times: Putting Theory to Work in Educational Research II
Symposium, Part 2
This paper takes Bourdieu’s concept of doxa as the starting point to explain how a taken-for-granted world-view is promoted by lifelong learning policy texts, produced by and linked to relations of power (Deer, 2008). Its specific focus is on adults returning to formal learning in the policy context of England, where the position of adults in further and higher education is ambiguous. Over the past decade education policies in England have exhorted adults to acknowledge the link between learning and employment and accept responsibility for improving their learning across their life-course. Yet these same policies have set priorities regarding which forms of adult learning should be supported by public resources and which should not. The paper presents a case study of adults learning at one further education college. It uses doxa as the thinking tool to understand how social agents, such as students, teachers, institutional managers and officials from the funding body provide different narrative accounts of their practices. Finally, in juxtaposing these different accounts and in re-presenting the students with their initial narratives, in order to encourage further reflections, the paper suggests a way that researchers may disrupt the doxa and foster a more reflexive social science.
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