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Examining interpersonal dynamics among adult learners through the lens of place

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The purpose of this article is to analyze interpersonal problems among adult learners in three family literacy programs and to identify how these tensions were connected to place or distinctive community contexts. Drawing on the critical geography literature, the article argues that interpersonal problems must be understood in light of socio-cultural and spatial factors such as the history of steel-era industrial capitalism and immigrant settlement patterns resulting from global economic restructuring. By linking micro-level interactions to contextual factors, the article provides a sociological, place-conscious alternative to individualistic explanations of relational conflicts. In short, the group dynamics adult educators and learners encounter in the classroom should be understood as a microcosm of spatially produced social relations outside the program.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Goodling Institute for Research in Family Literacy and Institute for the Study of Adult Literacy, Pennsylvania State University, USA

Publication date: 2009-01-01

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