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Lifelong learning: a policy concept with a long past but a short history

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This article examines the continuities and discontinuities in the international problematisation of education across the lifespan as an education policy, currently conceptualised as lifelong learning. Through the critical examination of international organisations' policy documents, this paper demonstrates that while on the one hand there is a pattern in the way the problematisaton has been carried out (the continuities), on the other hand the translation of the problematisaton into policy has been punctuated by major discontinuities. Lifelong learning as a policy concept has introduced strong discontinuities that have ensured its acceptance worldwide: a policy with a small degree of political operationalisation that simultaneous discursively combines different political orientations.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02601370.2010.547616

Affiliations: Humboldt-University, Berlin

Publication date: March 1, 2011

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