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Journal of College Student Development 48.3 (2007) 364-367

Reviewed by
Courtney H. Thornton
North Carolina State University
David Franklin Ayers
University of North Carolina at Greensboro
Global Issues and Adult Education: Perspectives from Latin America, Southern Africa, and the United States; Sharan B. Merriam, Bradley C. Courtenay, and Ronald M. Cervero (Eds.); San Francisco: Jossey Bass, 2006, 560 pages, $48.00 (hardcover)

Global Issues and Adult Education: Perspectives from Latin America, Southern Africa, and the United States is a collection of response papers written by 38 of the 45 Cyril O. Houle Scholars in Adult and Continuing Education identified by the W. K Kellogg Foundation between 1997 and 2006. Those 38 contributing authors sponsored and attended a Global Issues Seminar (August 7-14, 2004) that aimed to bring attention to the future needs of a global community, the role of adult education in addressing those needs, and the establishment of regional networks for adult and continuing education leaders. The conference, and this resulting volume, was organized around five global issues important for the future of adult education: globalization and the market economy, marginalized populations, environment and health, community empowerment, and lifelong learning and educational systems. These five issues emanated from a review of the Houle Scholars' research projects as well as from the United Nations Education, Scientific, and Cultural Organization's (UNESCO) report on the 1997 International Conference on Adult Education (CONFINTEA). During the Global Issues Seminar, experts served as specialists in each area, and their comments are summarized at the beginning of each of the five sections.

Readers of this hefty volume may best heed the advice, "begin with the end in mind." At the end of this collection of 38 chapters, widely [End Page 364] diverse in style, content, purpose and approach, editors Sharan Merriam, Bradley Courtenay and Ronald Cervero offer a masterful concluding chapter that both connects the five sections of the book and identifies themes across all 38 chapters. The editors present globalization as an overarching concept; globalization leads to marginalization of certain populations who are, in turn, more often susceptible to environmental and health issues. The remaining two themes, community empowerment and lifelong learning, are strategies for addressing the negative effects of globalization. The editors then form a five-part agenda for adult educators based on ideas common across the 38 chapters: (a) create a space to listen to voices, (b) adopt a critical stance, (c) attend to policy, (d) develop partnerships, and (e) foster collective learning and action. While the division of chapters according to the five global issues seems logical, readers will find great variation within each section. Although the authors promoted partnership and collaboration of all kinds in their chapters, they did not demonstrate its value in the approach to this volume. The volume could have been strengthened by combining the thoughts and ideas of authors both within and across sections. Hence, readers who start with the concluding chapter may be better primed to identify connections across the chapters within each section.

The seven chapters that comprise Part 1, "Globalization and the Market Economy," each define globalization independently before offering related considerations and applications for adult educators. Zelda Groener discusses government policies in South Africa as related to transformative workplace adult education. Chapters from Cecilia Amaluisa Fiallos and Juan José Madrigal Goerne offer perspectives on globalization from Ecuador and Mexico, respectively. Fiallos urges adult educators to consider development, a central globalization concept, less in terms of wealth and more in terms of personal freedoms. Goerne discusses certain Latin American adult education programs and how globalization has created both challenges and opportunities in this work. In his chapter, John Holst skillfully introduces the debate on the nature of globalization, specifically using Tabb's typology to discuss the opposing views of long versus strong globalization. The remaining chapters focus on adult education in the United States. Fred Schied critiques the dominant belief that lifelong learning is the solution to economic problems. Talmadge...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1543-3382
Print ISSN
0897-5264
Pages
pp. 364-367
Launched on MUSE
2007-05-21
Open Access
No
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