Reference : Educating the World: International Organizations and the Construction of Lifelong Learning
Dissertations and theses : Doctoral thesis
Social & behavioral sciences, psychology : Sociology & social sciences
Educating the World: International Organizations and the Construction of Lifelong Learning
Zapp, Mike mailto [University of Luxembourg > Faculty of Language and Literature, Humanities, Arts and Education (FLSHASE) > Education, Culture, Cognition and Society (ECCS) >]
University of Koblenz-Landau, ​​Germany
Docteur en Philosophie
Wenning, Norbert
Yeates, Nicola
[en] diffusion ; international organizations ; world polity ; lifelong learning
[en] While the 1960s and 1970s still knew permanent education (Council of Europe), recurrent education (OECD) and lifelong education (UNESCO), over the past 20 years, lifelong learning has become the single emblem for reforms in (pre-) primary, higher and adult education systems and international debates on education. Both highly industrialized and less industrialized countries embrace the concept as a response to the most diverse economic, social and demographic challenges – in many cases motivated by international organizations (IOs). Yet, literature on the nature of this influence, the diffusion of the concept among IOs and their understanding of it is scant and usually focuses on a small set of actors. Based on longitudinal data and a large set of education documents, the work identifies rapid diffusion of the concept across a heterogeneous, expansive and dynamic international field of 88 IOs in the period 1990-2013, which is difficult to explain with functionalist accounts. Based on the premises of world polity theory, this paper argues that what diffuses resembles less the bundle of systemic reforms usually associated with the concept in the literature and more a surprisingly detailed model of a new actor – the lifelong learner.

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