Engaging ideas, transforming minds
Engaging ideas, transforming minds
Canadian Scholars’ Press
304 pages
6 x 9 inches
November 2013
Print ISBN: 9781551305462
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  • Winner of the 2014 Cyril O. Houle Award for Outstanding Literature in Adult Education


In this era of economic uncertainty, there has been renewed interest in the benefits of adult and higher education for economic and professional gain. André P. Grace questions this perspective and advocates for a holistic view that also incorporates the social, cultural, and personal benefits of learning as a lifelong pursuit.

A detailed and thoughtful critique of the effects of neoliberalism and globalization on adult and higher education, this book examines the quality of lifelong learning in historical and contemporary contexts, with an emphasis on multivariate learner populations and education as a platform for social engagement, ethics, and justice. Weaving together academic analysis and first-person reflections, the author addresses the diverse needs of learners from Canada and around the world in a variety of social and economic situations.

An essential text for anyone interested in the development of lifelong-learning policy and practice, Lifelong Learning as Critical Action is a call to action that challenges readers to engage with lifelong learning as a critical, democratic, and inclusive process.


  • incorporates theoretical analyses, narrative vignettes, and first-person reflection to develop a compelling argument
  • emphasizes multivariate learner populations and education as a platform for social engagement, ethics, and justice
  • contains inclusive and holistic examples from Canada and around the world that situate the discussions in a real-life context

Related Titles

Table of Contents

List of Acronyms
Introduction: Moving Beyond Omissions to Achieve Holistic, Proactive, and Inclusive Learning for All

Chapter 1: Positioning Citizens, Situating Latter-Day Lifelong Learning
Chapter 2: Learners’ Quests to Live Full and Satisfying Lives
Chapter 3: Lifelong Learning Chic in the Modern Practice of Adult Education: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives
Chapter 4: Lifelong Learning as a Chameleonic Concept and Versatile Practice: Recounting Y2K Perspectives and Trends
Chapter 5: International Educational Policy-Making in a Neoliberal Change Culture of Crisis and Challenge
Chapter 6: Transnational Travesties for Sexual Minorities as Subaltern Learners: An Exchange with Robert J. Hill
Conclusion: Beyond the Vast Economic Debacle

About the Author

André P. Grace

André P. Grace is Killam Professor and Director of the Institute for Sexual Minority Studies and Services at the University of Alberta, where he also teaches in the Department of Educational Policy Studies. He was recently named Canada Research Chair in Sexual and Gender Minority Studies.


"This is an astonishing book, dazzling in the way it interweaves politics, culture, history and economics to challenge the dominant neo-liberal interpretation of lifelong learning as lifelong schooling for global capitalism. The author argues that lifelong learning is irredeemably normative, central to living a full and satisfying life. Such a life demands freedom from homophobia, xenophobia, racism, ableism, sexism and heteronormativity—all the forces, ideologies and structures that diminish us all. He charts how lifelong educators can engage in critical action to confront these forces in an analysis that is international and historical in scope, weaves auto-ethnography with powerful descriptions of practice, and is distinguished throughout by a compelling, passionate, and refreshingly partisan advocacy. This is a book that should not be missed by anyone interested in what it means to educate ourselves, and others, to live in a world that places compassion and justice above profit, exclusion and exploitation."
—  Stephen Brookfield, Distinguished University Professor, School of Education, University of St. Thomas

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