The Historical Formation of Adult Education Discourses in the Shift from Liberalism to Neoliberalism
Mount Saint Vincent University
This dissertation provides the theoretical under-labouring needed for adult education theorists to understand the ways in which adult education has become part of the ideological veil behind which capitalism maneuvers in our contemporary world. To understand the purpose of adult education in the regime of neoliberalism, this dissertation tracks its historical formation in a context of influential liberal discourses that were supportive of the development of capitalism. An in-depth review of key liberal philosophers provides adult education researchers with insights into how liberal theory moved from its roots as a critique of government to be a regime of justification for the growth of modern capitalism. Using Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, as a regional exemplar, the dissertation examines the shifting nature of adult education in response to shifting national and international liberal, capitalist, and, now, neoliberal discourses.
Adult education, liberalism, neoliberalism