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Title: Perceptions of learning and education in later life : prevailing discourse and informing narratives
Author: Blair, S. E. E.
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2005
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Abstract:
Lifelong learning raises expectations of a process that will endure over the life course. Economic and social benefits are believed to accrue for both the individual and society as a result. Older people constitute the fastest growing population in Scotland but acquiring knowledge and skills for employment may not be their priority. However, they have an investment in the social purposes of learning and education. Also, people who are aged fifty plus have learning and educational trajectories which may either encourage or dissuade them from engaging with learning opportunities in later life. Research questions providing impetus for this work revolved around the impact of lifelong learning policy and meanings of learning and education for people in later life. The aim of this study was to explore the individual and collective perceptions of a small group of older people about the nature, purpose and meaning of learning and education. A review of selected literature about the learning society, lifelong learning and associated social benefits revealed a hegemonic discourse of invisibility concerning older people. But a separate and parallel discourse of emancipation was evident within educational gerontology. Amongst the perceived benefits of learning in later life was increased participation in society and links with health. This interpretative, dialogical study used critical hermeneutics to explore and locate participants’ perceptions and meanings of learning and education against a background of historical and contextual social relations. Methods used included focus groups and in-depth topic centred narrative interviews, alongside a process of constant reflexivity. A purposeful sample of nine participants was involved for the duration of one year. Thematic analysis of findings from the focus groups produced collective themes of “exclusion”, “taking stock” and “moving on”. Similar analysis of interview transcripts plus Labovian analysis of selected narrative sequences revealed issues concerning identity with strong adherence to the values of lifelong learning. Dissonance was evident between political and personal narratives.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ed.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.641704  DOI: Not available
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