First published in 1999, this volume centres on a case study which looks at the experiences of non-traditional adult women students in universities, from the perspective of the actors. The interaction of structure and agency and the significance of macro and micro levels in shaping the behaviour, attitudes and experiences of women adult students are examined by drawing on three perspectives: feminism, Marxism and interactionism. An underlying question is to what extent did studying change the way participants perceived themselves as women? It relates life histories to their student career as individuals and collectively as subcultural groups. It also breaks new ground by including a sample of male adult students in order to compare and clarify gender issues. It also uses macro and micro sociological theories as a tool for understanding the experiences of women at university and the relationship between their public and private lives. The book concludes that studying for a degree represented an active decision to take greater control, to break free from gender and class restraints, and to transform individual lives. The study aims to clarify and reassert the radical individual traditions within sociology, feminism and adult education.
Table of Contents
1. Gender Issues in Adult and Higher Education: Concepts, Perspectives and Research. 2. Drawing on Theory: Combining Action, Structure and Feminism. 3. Researching Women’s Lives: Interviews as Life Histories. 4. Warwick University: Culture, Context and Community. 5. Connecting the Past with the Present: The Impact of Education, Gender and Class. 6. Employment, Domesticity and the Quest for Fulfilment. 7. Learning a Mature Student Career: Adjustment and Consolidation. 8. Experiencing University Life: Intersections of Public and Private Worlds. 9. Present and Future Biographies: Changing Lives and Future Hopes. 10. Transforming Women’s Lives: Education as Empowerment?
’A fascinating exploration of the connection between the public and private lives of women - and a few men - and the impact that later life study at an elite university has on them.’ Chris Duke, President of the University of Western Sydney Nepean and Professor of Lifelong Learning, Australia ’...a useful addition to the literature of discipline history, as well as of mature student experience.’ Studies in the Education of Adults ’...a useful contribution to the sociology of adult education...I would recommend this book as a useful contribution to the literature of adult education and to the debate on gender, class and higher education for academics and post-graduate students.’ British Journal of Educational Psychology