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This article compares and contrasts the views of educational policy makers and consumers within Lincolnshire, an English rural county, using Bourdieu's notion of 'habitus' as a vehicle for analysis. The article focuses on the relative importance of education as cultural capital in determining the motivational factors affecting participation in lifelong learning. The article considers lifelong learning in the context of 'continuing education'. If lifelong learning is characterized into three discrete yet connected phases: the first, 'full-time education' from the age of 5 until leaving full-time education at age 16, 18 or 21; the second, the 'transitional phase' between school and work at age 16-21; the third, 'continuing education' beyond the age of 21; it is the policies and attitudes to this third phase described in this paper. Education for adults rather than simply the education of adults. Interviews with small groups of learners and an experienced manager of lifelong learning policies in Lincolnshire are used to illuminate clear differences between the continuing education providers' expectations of lifelong learning and those of the learners. The conclusions reaffirm the importance of community and cultural tradition in education and highlight the importance of family learning within the rural context.