In times of trouble, what is the role of lifelong education and educators? (Editorial)

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Hodge, Steven
Brandi, Ulrik
Hoggan-Kloubert, Tetyana
Milana, Marcella
Howard Morris, Thomas
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Research and practice of adult and lifelong education and educators has always been tinged with ethical considerations, arguments and debate. Sometimes, the ethical dimension appears muted – such as when the focus is on attitudes to skill acquisition – but at other times, adult and lifelong education is positioned as a distinct force of good through its role in realising social justice, personal realisation and spiritual goals. While it would never be possible or desirable to mandate an overarching moral purpose for our extremely diverse field, the history of the field’s scholarship and the ethical tenor of leading authors make it reasonable to ponder our role at a time when key institutions of order appear to be teetering and whole communities are suffering the ravages of inhuman brutality. This is at a time when our knowledge, skills – our learning – and technical and artistic achievements are reaching dizzying heights. These are times of trouble, and adult and lifelong education may offer one platform for hope. In this editorial, we bring to mind ethical arguments and claims of the field from the past, and tap into the recent work of Bagnall and Hodge (Citation2022) which sought to analyse manifestations of the field in terms of linked ethical and epistemological paradigms. In this editorial, we conclude that although our field is marked by legitimate epistemological diversity, adult and lifelong educational practice is always ethically charged in some way and for that reason carries the seeds of hope for a better world over and above imperatives of meeting immediate needs and goals.

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International Journal of Lifelong Education

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Specialist studies in education

Education systems

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Hodge, S; Brandi, U; Hoggan-Kloubert, T; Milana, M; Howard Morris, T, In times of trouble, what is the role of lifelong education and educators?, International Journal of Lifelong Education, 2024, 43 (2-3), pp. 87-92