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Popular Education as Adult Education Within

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					      Popular Education as Adult Education Within

                                        by Sherman M.Stanage


                                        Shernlntl M. Stanage is ProJrssor Chairperson, Deyartnrul~lnJPltiluso~~hy;
                                        Professor in Adtd t Coll!irlilin~Education, Depnrt t n t w t o Lr=odcrslrip a?zd
                                                                                                      f
                                        Edui-at ionnl Palicy Studies; ~ n Presidr~ltual
                                                                          d           Terlcl~ing    Prilfissor of
                                        PhiI~)suphy, Northen1 Illinois U)tiuersity.

    [Tlhe corr!inuntroa ofnmdtr-        persons and thcir common enslng           programs in the United States. I in-
    nit? threatens the n e y srrr-      of their needs. These mndernist rpp-      tend its use a s a kind of corrective to
    viva1 of life or1 our pinu~~t.      resentations fail to address the eve-     modernist thrusts wlich are inimi-
    This awareness, cornbincd           rydayness of the I~feworlds per-
                                                                      of          crll a ~ destructive tu the very pos-
                                                                                            d
    wlih the growlng knowl-             sons an3 communities in postmod-          sibilities of co-lcarning and c'o-act-
    edge of the intcrdepend-            ernist tirncs.                            u ~ g the midst of the desperate
                                                                                        in
    ence of the modern world-                Thcse ncecls and problems arc        needs constituting the llfeworlds of
    view and the militarism,            most prominently those o persuns
                                                                   f              todav's comnlon folk everywhere in
    nuclearism, and ecological          and communities who havc liked            the pastmodem world.
    devastation of the modern           marginalized, invisibllized, and
    world, is providing an un-          largely unenvolccd lives, but who
    precedented impetus for             are entering graduatc studies in
    people tn see the evidence          adult education in growing num-
    for a postmodern world-             bers. Thcir needs are not those ad-                  ...within
    view and to envisrlge post-         dressed by modernist practices,                  postmodem times
    modem ways of relating              theories, and research progrhms.                  adult education
    to each other, the rest of          Their needs and those of their com-
    nature, and the cosmos as           munities can only be met by degrees              incvensingly must
    a whole. (Griffin, 1993, x)              kinds of adult education a s con-            become popular
                                        textualized adult learning in touch              education in both
                                        with its own originative roots as
Introductory Remarks                    popular education.                                 personal and
                                                                                         cornmlcnal tenns.
                                        Thesis
            dult education practices


A           which increasingly are
            born of reproductionistic
            instruction in courses of
graduate study are ubiquitousty out
of touch with the needs of common
                                            ' f i s payer offers a reconceptu-
                                        alization o adult education as
                                                      f
                                        popular education for our times. Al-
                                        though the term popular education
                                        is a term well known throughout
                                        most of the world, it is neither well
                                                                                       I use the term popular educa-
                                                                                  tion to refer to grassroots praxis, to
                                                                                  cn-learning and reacting princesses
                                                                                  relating potentially to any person,
                                                                                  and d s processes open to all persons,
people. One promising way of un-                                                  conccnwd or affecked by any spe-
derstanding this phenomenon is to       known nrjr widely uwd in the              cific social issue(s). Pupular educa-
show how contemporary adul r edu-       United States. My discussion of           tion is focussededucation far ilitated
cation graduate instruction derives     popular education is an attempt to        a s nearly as possible without gen-
from modernist represents tions of      bring t h s notion further into the       der, ethnic, or any other unjust and
practice, theory and research w h c h   mainstream of adult education             unfair moral and ethical cxclusion
fail to address the needs of common     practices, theorizing, and research       or dominance. Popular education is

August & Noven~ber
                 3995                        Thresholds in Education                                                  38
co-learning and co-acting directly          that century's creativities. Alleged       concepts in anthropology, econom-
focussed on all o the problems of
                    f                       value-free apyIications of much o  f       ics, psychology, sociology, and in
common persons which are consti-            these modernistic achievements,            many other areas o the social sci-
                                                                                                                f
tuted of the concerns o the commu-
                          f                 through increasing individualism,          ences. Some new ways o viewing f
nity's sense of its common life.'           competitiveness, and technology,           physics, chemistry, and biology
    The thesis offeredin the paper is       however, have increasingly dis-            have also been called postmodern.
that, within postmodern times,              tanced us as persons and communi-                 In a 1 of these disciplines and
adult education irtcreasingly must          ties f o our essential life-sources
                                                   rm                                  fieldsof expression, postmodemism
become popular education in both            withhi nature and have placed us at        refers to the process of undercutting
personal and communal terms. It             the constant and escalating risks of       any and all verdor~ absolute and
                                                                                                                 af
must do so if it is to survive all of the   the impersonal powers of nature            certain starting points and any and
hegemonies of special power inter-          and o objectivizing negations of
                                                   f                                   all attempts to establish absolute
ests o funding agencies, the older
      f                                     each other. These risks are ever-pre-      meaning and value. It refers to the
traditional models o "higher" edu-
                        f                   sent and potentially catastrophe.          totality of the cultural content of
cation, and the cconomic material-          The product of "progress," has been        thought and action*£ c*thnking
ism fused with totalizing greed of          aclueved at the cost o our ever-al-
                                                                   f                   and co-acting--c-onstituting the
corporate capitalism. Adult educa-          ienating removal from the sources          conduct of persons within the so-
tion as popular educatiur~must be           of life and being: nature. In that sev-    cially constructed everydayness uf
facilitated through interpretations         enteenth century-that century of           their lived worlds. Postmodernist
of meaningful personal and com-             genius-Francis Bacon argued that           thought claims that, through their
munal worlds witlun the grass roo-          a newly constructed empirical sci-         daily conduct, persons and commu-
tages of the everydayness of the            ence necessarily ought to consist in       nities increasingly call into serious
lived worlds of persons and com-            putting nature to the tortures of the      question and doubt any and all
munity groups.                              inquisition. Modernism is the corn-        claims to any absdute truth, value,
                                            quence of everywhere separatizing          and meaning previously established
                                            knowledge, of knowledge always             within dominant and dominating
Modernism and                               and only about the world, and never        literature, art, music, ~hjlouophy
Postmodernism                               of, by, through, and for the world.        and the sciences. "[P]nstmodernism
                                                                                       refers to a diffuse sentiment rather
Clarified                                       Modenusm is a "cultural
                                                                                       than to any common set of doc-
                                                style that seeks self-con-
     I have used the terms modern-                                                     t r i n e s t h e sentiment that human-
                                                tained intelligibility, sig-
ism and postmodemism, and it is                 nificance, and worth; in a
                                                                                       ity must go beyond the modem"
necessary to clarify what I mean by                                                    (Griffen, 1994, ~ i i i ) . ~
                                                diverse world tfus Ieads to
these two terms. I focus first on the                                                         Kenneth J. Gergcn (ILM1) ac-
                                                professional specializa-
phenomena referred to by the term                                                      cording to Scott Hcller (19911,
                                                tion; its self-consciousness
modernism. do this in order to de-                                                     daims that
                                                involves making a self-
velop my theme that the kind of                 contained new start, sig-                  romanticists and niodern-
adult education bring practiced to-             nificantly and discontinu-                 ist conceptions of the self,
day is modernist adult education,               ous with the past; and the                 while still alive, are being
that it is unsuited to the needs of             methodological self-defin-                 overtaken by a new post-
persons and cultures in postmodern              tion of a specialty allows,                modernist attitude. Dur-
times; and, therefore, that it is essen-        indeed encourages, a prac-                 ing the romantic era, p e e
tially powerless to bring about radi-           titioner to declare those                  ple believed m inner joy,
cally tratlsfomative empowerment                who follow other methods                   moral feeling and loyalty.
of these communal groups and per-               to fall outside the spe-                   The modern period gave
sons.                                           cialty ." (Neville, 1993, 59)              precedence to logic, rea-
     I use the term modernism to re-                                                       son and observation . . . .
fer to much o the discoverive, in-
                f                                The terms postmodern, post-
                                            modernism, and postmodemist                    Postmodernism, by con-
ventive, and creative achievements                                                         trast, is marked by multi-
o Western culture, T'hpre would
 f                                          have come into widespread use in               plicity, variety, and
seem to be notlung wrong with all of        literature, literary criticism, art, mu-
                                                                                           change. No longer is the
this. For example, Alfred North             sic, architecture, history, and phi-
                                                                                           self coherent. Rather, we
Whitehead called the West's seven-          losophy, among many other areas of
                                            human creativity, discovery, and in-           accept that we have differ-
teenth century the century of genius,                                                      ent faces for different roles
and we are still fleshingout much o    f    vention. They have become familiar

                                                  Thresholds in Education                        August & November 1995
    and our relationships are             foundation in one or another o the
                                                                          f        chews the n~etaphor and magic
    played out through imper-             traditional disciplines o knowl-
                                                                     f             within the spontaneity of change. It
    sonal technologies-l i kr             edge; or is itselt: a discipline t ) f   seeks, and acquiesces in the face of,
    faxes or computer bulletin            knowledge and, therefore, frmnda-        author~t~tive  dominance within life
    boards-that allclw us to              tional; or which claims that adult       increas~r~gly removed from natural
    reach acrcws the world                education is on the road tu discipli-    life forms, natural rhythms and
    without looking into the              nary status and that given enough        from nature itself. In our time, the
    eyes o those we relate to
          f                               time, it will arrive at that founda-     modernist claim is that one can nnl y
    daily. It's a condition Mr.           tional status.                           be called a profrssi~~nal onc spe-
                                                                                                               ~f
    Gergen calls 'mul-                         1 want to discuss some dear ex-     cializes in a subject. The more
    tiphrenia.'                           amples of modernist constitutions        focussed the subject matter, thc
                                          of adult education. These examples       more precise and rigorous thc spe-
     Within times increasingly char-
                                          include 11) professionalism and spe-     cialization (mght to becomc.
acterized as postniodern, our re-
flecting and inquiry have fled from
                                          cialization; (2) adult education as           Formerly, a profession was a
                                          psychologism, sociologism, and           protessing process. In those days, to
"fixed" truths to an uneasy accep-
                                          other forms of pseudo-~ience;     (3)    pratess meant tu solemnly declare,
tance of thc social constructi(3n of
                                          so-called "liberal" adult education;     promise, vow, or to act so a5 to enter,
reality. "Thc rcal world no longer
                                          (3)self-directed learning theory nor-    say, a rcliglous order. It meant that
exists in its own terms but orily as it
                                          n~nlly present in adult education lit-   one declared, acknow I e d ~ ~ d ,   be-
is staged, performed, enac trd, imag-
                                          erature; (5) HRD corporate training      lieved, intended, practiced a view. A
ined in ct~lturalforms . . . it is no
                                          models predicated on short-term          profession meant a vocatic>n.A pro-
longer possible to mark meaningful
                                          human capital assumptions, ends          fession meant "the rbccuyation
distinctirms between culture and so-
                                          and goals; and (6) research method-      which one professes to bc skilled in
ciety." (Chaney, 1Y9.2, 182). At its
                                          ologies.                                 and to tollow.. . a vocation in which
best, Gergen claims,
                                               This list of modernist construc-    one professed knclwledge of some
    postmodem life will place             tions of adult education constitutes     department i ~ Ieanung or science rn
                                                                                                    f
    a premium on relation-                almost the core curriculum of a          its application to the affairs of others
    ships, not individualism.             modern program of graduate stud-         or in thc practlce o an art founded
                                                                                                        f
    Reality i tself-what                  ies in adult edt~cfitiot~ the United
                                                                  in               upon it" (OED).
    counts as true or right-              States. The conceptual core of mod-
    will be negotiated by com-            emmt adult education thinking and
    munities and subcu\h~res.             acting is exclusionary professios~ali-       (2) Adult Education as
    National boundarics and               zation and specialization. 1 begin                Pseudo-Science
    governments will matter                                      of
                                          with a brief an~lysis profession-
    less. And ncw technolo-               alization and speciatization. The             rn contemporary modernist
    gies will mean that people            other examples follow easily from        terms, the customary way in which
    from a variety of groups              ths conceptual core.                     one demonstrates onc's competency
    will be more actively in-                                                      and spccinlization as a genuine pro-
    volved in democracy. (Hel-                                                     fessional is to specialize in a disci-
                                                                                   pline or to be competent in a disci-
    ler, 1991)                             (1) Professianalization and             pline I'ersons seeking acadcmic ap-
                                                  Specialization
                                                                                   pnintmrnts in universities, for ex-
Modernist                                     Modernist praxis is most mark-       ample, must demonstrate that they
                                          edly characterized by syecialization     specialize in some area of that diwi-
Constitutions of                          and proiessionalization, or morc         pline and are competent in othrr ar-
Adult Education                           aptly put, by a professionalism          eas within it. Therefurc, since per-
Practices, Theory, and                    which has coIlapsed into an objecti-     son can only d ~ m o ~ t r a t profes-
                                                                                                                  c.
                                          fying specializd t ion. Professional-    sion,jlism through acting and prac-
Research                                  ism has become reduced to a mode         ticing within a discipline, and since
                                          of conduct which seeks to k i o m c      adult education is not yet a disii-
     A Modernist constitution of
                                          ever more specialized and technical.     plinc, the great bulk of the practices
adult education theory, practice,
                                          Professionalization today is the         of adult educatos is drawn from
and research most of all is any ap-
                                          commitment of one's spirit and soul      traditional disciplines such a s psy-
proach to theory, practice, and re-
                                          to technicistic language, meaning        chdogy and sociology even though
search w h c h claims that adult edu-
                                          and life. It is commitment which es-     adult educators are incrrasingly
cation must be grounded or have a

A~tgust November 1995
      b
trained and educated within adult:          (4) Self-Directed Learning                 ing') makes no more sense
education theory and research per           Theory i Adult Education
                                                     n                                 than comfortable peda-
se. T h s same reliance upon tradi-                                                    gogical chatter about ern-
                                                Self-directed leaming in adult         powering people. For a
tional modernist sciences is demon-
                                           education generally has been con-
strated i adult educators' construc-
          n                                                                            critical perspective on
                                           ceived as a freer form of learning
tions of concepts and theories. This                                                   adult education, the criti-
                                           and education, as a more informal
means one of two things: Either (1)                                                    cal task is to identify social
                                           prwess in which a person chooses
adult educators must be well edu-                                                      structures and practices
                                           freely to engage. One problem has
cated in one or more of these sci-                                                     which (mis)shapesocial
                                           always been present, however: self-
ences in orde~ carry through their
                to                                                                     leaming processes and un-
                                           directed learmng has been under-            dermine capacities adults
practices, develop their concepts
                                           stood in juxtaposition with formal
and theories, and perform their re-                                                    already possess to control
                                           education, schooling, and training,
search accordmg to the standards of                                                    their own education. (Col-
                                           albeit somehow not as effective,spe-
those sciencus; or, it means that (2)                                                  lins, 1994,100)
                                           cialized or professional. Rarely has
they will be engaged in adul t educa-
                                           self-directed learning been articu-
tion practices, will be attempting to                                                   ( 5 ) Human Resource
                                           lated concretely and accurately as
construct theore tical concepts, and
                                           the fundamental thrust of all learn-
                                                                                        Development (HRD)
will be doing research as pseudo-
                                           ing,especially adult learning. I have        Leonard Nadler has defined hu-
scientists or as persons purporting
                                           in mind here a range of Iearning ac-    man resource development as "or-
to perforrn science without neces-
                                           tivity and process from a person's      ganized learning experience in a
sarily possessing sufficient creden-
                                           very free-ranging learning to v e v     given period of time to bring about
tials for doing it well.3
                                           forced learning. In all cases along     the possibility o performance
                                                                                                        f
                                           this range of learning activity, how-   change or general growth for the
                                           ever, learning is self-direction, al-   individual within an urgdnization"
 (3) Liberal Adult Education               though freer in somecases and more      (Nadler, 1984, 1). j. Jones has de-
     "Liberal" adult education (as         forced in other cases.                  fined human mource development
distinct from a liberal political ideol-        Michael Collins has descrihd       as "an approach to the systen~atic
ogy and belief system) normally has        the problen~ this way:
                                                         in                        expansion of people's work-reiated
been identified with the cultivation           From a critical perspec-            abilities, focussed on the attainment
of knowledge w i t h 1 the context of          tive, the problem is not            of both organizational and personal
a leisure class and within the activi-         with sel f-d i rec ted learning     goals'' (Jones,1981, 188).Karen Wa t-
ties of rjch and privileged communi-           itself (should there be any         kins has defined Human Resource
ties of persons. The transmission of           other kind?). Rather the            Development as "the field of study
carem selections of cultural do-               concern is with the reifica-        and practice responsible for the fos-
mains and processes are primarily              tion of self-directed learn-        tering o a long-tcrm, work-related
                                                                                            f
controlled by cultural elites. The             ing in support o dubious
                                                                   f               [earning capacity st the individual,
claimed infomation, know ledge,                professional king aspira-           group, and organizational level of
and wisdom, are measured out                   tions and the deleterious           organizations" (Watkins,1989,427).
through their hegemonic domi-                  effects, via its instrumen-             Whether these definitions are
nance. Liberal education always has            tal rationality, on the learn-      good dcfinitions or not, each one
claimed that special cultivation of            ing processes. Relevant en-         surely underscores essential struc-
minds w h c h ought to be performed            gagement with                       tures of what human resource de-
out of all of the possible ways of             contemporary social and             veiopment must always be: the sub-
cultivafion. This h d of education             political issues can,and            ordination of utdividual persons to
increasingly has come into the                 should, occur without the           the economic hegcmonv oi corpo-
hands of specialists and profession-           deployment of self-di-              rate needs, corporate purposes, and
als dedicated to reproducing their             rected learning as tech-            corporate goals presupposing hu-
own degrws and Iunds. Hence, lih-              nique or strategy. The idea         man capital theory in modernism's
era1 education is articulated in ai-           of 'facilitating' self-di-          unique totali7.ing ways.
cordance with specialistic visions,            rected learning which
gclals, and purposes--c~rmore accu-            Knowles recognized ordi-                ( 6 ) Received Research
rately those visions, goals, and pur-          nary wide-awake adults al-                  MethodoIogies
poses of the plslitical powers i011-           ready possess ('to be adult
trolli~ig them.
                                                                                      Rewarch methodologies in
                                               means to be self-direct-            modernist adult education have

41                                              Thresholds in Education                      August &November 1995
come to be characterized and di-                (1) Adult education in a post-            unknown etiology. Yet even these
chotomizd fashionably as either           modem world is adult contextual-                diseaws must be treated in health-
qualitative research or quantitative      i z d learning carried out in the con-          enhancing and disease-preventing
restarch. This either/ur view of re-      temporary world described as, and               ways.
search is nowhere as marked as in         constituted of, all of the postmodern               Therefort., in the venerable heal-
dissertation research4carried out by      d e s c r i p t i found in the disciplines
                                                            ~~                            ing and health-enhancing traditions
graduate students enrolled in doc-        cited above (and in many more dis-              in both philosophy and adult e d ~ ~ c a -
toral programs in adult education.        ciplines) on the assumption-                    tion perhaps a postrnodem defini-
Doctoral students seem to believe         whether tacit nr explicit-that these            tion of adult education could read as
that they are forced to choose be-        descriptions and constitutions are                            s:
                                                                                          f o l l o ~ ~adult education is a group
tween quite exclusionary ways of          persons' accurate co-descriptions of            of common, non-speci fic practices,
doing raearch. They often sccm en-        this lifeworld.                                 reflectings, and continuing inquiries
tire1y oblivious to the plain fact that         (2) l a provisional way, by
                                                      n                                   carried through by persons and
all inquiry properly called research      postmodem adult education as car-               ctm~munitiescon trx t ualizing their
must always ask two distinguish-          ried out today, 1 mean the practice             felt needs of bettering their lives,
able but inseparable questions:           a n d theory of adult educators and of          and characterized by their feelings,
what kixd (or quality) of phenorne-       adult education beginning roughly               experiencirigs and consciousings of
non are you investigating and haw         with the exemplary, radical rvurk af            their private and public growth in
mir~h what quantity or degree) of
       (or                                Paulo Freire, his associates and                skills, information. and knowledge
it have you disco~ered?~                  workers, and all of those persons               through praxis, both as individuals
     The finalizing and absulutizing      who knowledgeably and com-                      and as communities bf persons.
of mutually exclusive and dichoto-        mi ttedly worked as Subjects
mized ways of performing adult            (Freire's term) at those (and at our
education research which have been        own) infinite tasks of conscientized            Concluding Remarks
drawn largely from exactlv those so-      empowerment and transformation                        The prevailing conditions in In-
cial sciences most influenced bv          ofcommuniti-of persons. I a l ~ use    o
                                                                                          stitutions ofhigher educatic~n thein
logical positivism, logical empici-       the term ~ostmodem          adult ~ d u c a -
                                                                                          United States are increasingly hos-
cism, and behaviorism mark boih ot        tion to refer to the paradigmatic
                                                                                          tile toward persons' a t temp ts toper-
these research methodologies as           practices and research projects car-
                                                                                          Iorm and to provide authentic pub-
modernist. That research-oriented         ried out by Myles Hortun and h s
                                                                                          lic spheres for papular education as
adult educators are led to believe        assuch tes, and the liberation of
                                                                                          1 have described it. These contempo-
that they must choose one or the          minds and bodies at an even earlier             rary institutions are embattled bas-
other is itself another central thrust    date by the Highlander Folk Schclol             tions of romanticism and m d e r n -
of modernism in adult education. In       (now the Highlander Research Crn-               ism still projecting the ciitist rheto-
its objectifying ways, modernism          ter).                                           rics of separated minds and bodies.
has separated values and facts.                 (3) A postmodern detinition uf            These chronically underfunded cen-
Therefore, modernist adult educa-         adult education would he a defini-
                                                                                          ters increasingly assume the unpro-
tors have committed the same error        tion of adult learning and theeduca-            tective coloration of corporate com-
in articulating and utilizing their       tion elf adults wluch is consistent                             of
                                                                                          modification~ privdtized roman-
most fundamental research rneth-          with (a) accounts of descriptions               tic and modernist versions of infor-
odologies.                                and our technological society pro-
                                                                                          mation, knowledge, and education.
                                          vided by postmodcrnist thinkers in              They claim to offer marketable iu-
                                          the disciplines cited above (and in
Postmodernism and                                                                         sions of young minds and bodies
                                          many more disciplines) and (bl an
                                                                                          through curricularized prescrip-
Adult Education                           accurate account of what 1 have so              tions of modernist well--rounded-
                                          far characterized as postmodern
     A distinction-but not a separa-
                                                                                          ness as preparatiun for the mas-
                                          adult education. A postmodernist                sivel y adverting corporate worlds
tion-must be made between (I)             definition of adult education which             after graduation.
adult education in the postrnodem         issues from philosophical investiga-
world, (2) postmodern adult educa-        tions probably can be fashioned                     But the human proclivity
tion, and (3) a postmodern defini-        along the analogy o medical prac-
                                                                   f                          to evil in general, and to
tion of adult education. These three      tices (although not medical science).               conflictual competition
ways of distinguishing postmod-           I say tlus since some diseases are                  and ec-ological destruction
ernism and adult education can be         classified as being groups of disor-                in particular, can be
clarified in the following ways:'         ders with non-specific symptoms of                  grently exacerbated or

Augwst & November 299.5                         Thresholds irr Educution
     greatly mitigated by a                           better world order, with a             ing and co-acting necessary among
     world order and its world-                       far less dangerous trajec-             persons and communities in post-
     view. Modernity exacer-                          tory, than the one we now              modern times, they must do it as
     bates it about as much as                        have. (Griffin, 1993, x)               popular educators within the grass
     imagmable. We can there-                                                                m t s of popular education.
                                                      If adult educators are to per-
     fore envision, without be-                   form the drama turgy7 of celearn-
     ing naively utopian, a far

Endnotes
1. Perhaps the most important lus-                Closely related to literary-artistic           lowed to contribute to the con-
     torical reference for my pur-                    postmodemism is a philosophi-              struction of our worldview.
     poses in this discussion is Char-                cal nost-modernism insvired                (Griffen, 1993, viii)
     les Sanders Peirce and his                       variously by pragmatism,
     "critical      commonsensism"                    physicalism, Ludwig Wittgen-           3. Since most adult educators in-
     whlch he believed to be central                  stein, Martin Heidegger, and               creasingly fall into the second
     to pragrtlatism (or for hun,later,              Jacques Derrida and other re-               mode, ttus may account par-
     pragmaticism).                                   cent French thmkers. By the use            tially for the dismissive manner
                                                      of terms that arise out of par-            in which scholars and teachers
2. Beyond connoting this sentiment,                   ticular segments of this move-             in traditional disciplines often
                                                                  u
    the term postmodm is used in a                    ment, it can be called deconstruc-         treat adult education and the
    confusing variety of ways, some                   tive or eliminative postnlodernisnr.       low esteem in which adult edu-
    of them contradictory to others.                  It overcomes the modem world-              cators often are held.
    In artistic and literary circles, for             view through an antiworld-
    example,           postmodernism                                                         4. Each and every project of w h c h is
                                                      view: it deconstructs or elirni-           presumably a unique and origi-
    shares in this general sentiment                  nates the ingredients necessary
    but also involves a sp~cific   reac-                                                         nal contribution to human
                                                      for a worldview, such as God,              knowle~lge, course.
                                                                                                             or
    tion against "modernism" in the                   self, purpose, meaning, a real
    narrow sense of a movement in                     world, and truth as correspon-         5 . I have discuswcl adult education
    artistic-literary circles in the late             dence. While motivated in some               research methodologies in
    nineteenth and early twentieth                    cases by the ethical concern to              much more detail in an unpub-
    centuries. Postmodern archi tec-                  forestall totalitarim systems,               lished paper, "Tirnbred Re-
    twe is very different from pust-                  this type of postmodern                      search: A Globalizd R~esearch
    modem literary criticism. In                      thought issues in relativism,                Model for IZigorouu Lrtquiry in
    some circles, the term postmod--                  even nihllisrn. It could also be             Adult Education," 1936. with
    mn is used in reference to that                  called uItramudemism, in that its             revisions continuing through
    potpourri of ideas and systems                   eliminations result from carry-             1994.
    sometimes called new age rneta-                   ing modern premises to their
    physics, although many of these                   logica 1 conclusions.                  6. I have discussed all of these mat-
    ideas and systems are more pre-                                                               ters in much greater detail in a
    modern than poshni>dem.Even                     [There is another view of postmod-            paper delivered during the 1989
    in philosophical and theological                   ernism whch] can, by contrast,                        f
                                                                                                  meeting o the American Asse
    circles, the term / I O S ~ ~ H L re- ~
                                      ? L     ~   ~                          or
                                                       be called co~tstructivu revision-          ciation of Adult and Continuing
    fers to two quite different posi-                  nry. It seeks to overcome the              Education in Atlantic City, New
    tions, one of which is reflected                    modern worldview not by                   Jersey. The paper, "Lifelrmg
    in h s series. Each position                       eliminating the possibility of             Learning: A Phenomenology of
    seeks to transcend both modern-                    worldviews as such, but by con-            Meaning and Value Transfor-
    ism in the sense of the world-                     structing a postmodem world-               mation in PostModern Adult
    view that has developed out of                     view though a revision o mod-
                                                                                 f                Education," was presented on
    the          seventeenth-century                   em premises and traditional                October 4,1989.
    Galielean-Cartesian- Baconian-                     concepts. This constructive or
    Newtonian science, and modw-                       revisionary postmodernism in-         7. "[Dlramaturgy of place [is] the
    nity in the sense of the world                     volves a new unity of scientific,         devices     and      prncedures
    order that both conditioned and                    ethical, aesthetic, and religious         through which a particular
    was conditioned by this world-                     intuitions. It rejwts not science         simulation is effected" (Chaney,
    view. But the two positions seek                   as such but only that scjentjsm           1994, 197).
    to transcend the modem in dif-                     in which the data of the m d e m
    ferent ways.                                       natural sciences are alone al-

43                                                      Thresholds in Educatiott                         August t3 November 1995
References
Chaney, D. (1994).The cliIfurd turn:     Jones, J. (1981). "Human resource       Stanage, S.M. (1989).Lifelong learn-
   Scene-setting essays in coritempo-       development: What it is and              ing: A phenome~~ologyof
   rary cultural theory., London:           how to become involved." I J.  n         mcaning and value transforma-
   Rou tledge.                              Pfeiffer and J. Jones (eds.), 1981       tion in postmodern Adult Edu-
                                            Annual Hnndbook for Gruup F~I-           cation, presented at the Ameri-
Colluls, M . (1994). From self-di-          cilitrlfurs. San Diego, C A . Uni-       can Association o Adult and
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    reeled learning to postmod-             versity Associates.                      Continuing Education Meeting,
    ernist thought in Adult Educa-                                                   Atlantic City, Nj, October 4,
    tion: Relocating our object of       Nadlrr, L. (1984). Human resource           1989.
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Griffin, D. (1993). In D.R. Griffen,        Adlrlls, Carmr, and Vocnfional          (eds.), Handbook o f Adult and
    Ed. al. (eds.) Founders r,f L-en-       Education, 1983.                        Crjntiniring Ediicnlihn. San Fran-
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    Albany, NY: State University of      Neville, R. (1992). The highroad
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                                            State University of New York
Heller, S . (1991). The thn~rliclar$        Press.
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August   Et   November 1995                   Thresholds in Education                                              44

				
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