Women, adult education and really useful knowledge : an essay concerning feminist pedagogy, epistemology, research, etc.
The thesis offers a post hoc account of three pieces of research relating to women's adult education which were camed out by the author over a penod of about fifteen years. In the process the thesis engages with a number of themes and issues in and around feminist theory and practite and adult education theory and practice. Radical traditions in adult education - particularly femimst-inspired traditions - are examined as spaces for the democratic production of "really useful knowledge". Changing meanings of feminist research and radical adult education are explored, as is the relationship between abstract knowledge and everyday knowledge. Developments in feminist epistemology are drawn on and related to a social justice agenda for adult education Through a critique of my own practice. I suggest that feminists and adult educators are well-placed to pursue a democratising project geared to including previously excluded groups in the production of legitimated knowledge. The thesis argues that we need to develop an understanding of our practices which combines historical, contextual understandings with an appreciation of what changed social and cultural conditions mean for the pursuit of any democratic knowledge-producing project.