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Open Access Can adult education change extremist attitudes?

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Although adult education leads to a moderation of racist or authoritarian attitudes amongst the general population, little is known concerning the impact of adult education on individuals with extremist racist–authoritarian views. In this paper we group individuals from the NCDS (National Child Development Study) into various racist–authoritarian categories at ages 33 and 42 using cluster analysis. Following this identification we test various hypothesis concerning the relationship between adult education and attitude change. In particular, questioning whether adult education can transform attitudes amongst those with racist–authoritarian attitudes and/or whether adult education can sustain non-extremist views. Although there is evidence of a conditional association between adult education and sustaining non-extremist views we are sceptical concerning the ability of adult education to change extremist positions. We conclude that further work on the mechanisms linking education and extremist attitudes is required if we are to identify causal processes.

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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 November 2005

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  • Founded in 2003 by the UCL Institute of Education, the journal reflects the Institute's broad interests in all types of education in all contexts - local, national, global - and its commitment to analysis across disciplines using a variety of methodologies. It shares the Institute's aspiration to interrogate links between research, policy and practice, and its principled concern for social justice.

    Drawing on these strengths, LRE is a wide-ranging and engaging journal that features rigorous analysis and significant research across key themes in education, including: public goals and policies; pedagogy; curriculum; organization; resources and technology; and institutional effectiveness. Articles and book reviews are written by experts in education, psychology, sociology, policy studies, philosophy and other disciplines contributing to education research, and by experienced researcher-practitioners working in the field. The highest quality of reporting and presentation are ensured through an independent, anonymised peer-review process. As an entirely web-based open access journal, LRE has been able to offer innovative features and formats including: epistolary conversation; colour photos and illustrations; illustrative video clips.

    LRE welcomes relevant articles and book reviews. Please email them to [email protected]

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