This is the first research-based book-length English language study of intergenerational learning. Here the authors define intergenerational learning broadly, as the migration of knowledge and skills between different generations across the life course. This is an important topic for education researchers, who are increasingly recognising the vital role played by family and other social connections in determining attainment. Intergenerational learning has also risen high on the policy agenda, as governments and institutions try to improve education outcomes against a background of budget reductions. There is also a wider media and public interest in how the life styles and values of different generations are seemingly leading to a general process of ‘dumbing down’.
These are complex and exciting issues, and the book seeks to explore them through new perspectives on learning and generational experiences. Probing the complexity of knowledge migration, it highlights the ways in which education and learning influence identities and interact with major social, economic and cultural changes, emphasising the multidirectional nature of life course change. The book explores the intersection of learning and knowledge migration with social and cultural influences, such as gender, race and class. It challenges the dominant models of expertise, which are based on a dated view of knowledge and skills as ‘things’ that are invariably ‘acquired’ by younger novices from older and more expert practitioners. It focuses instead on how learning cultures are (re)produced and changed within generations. It examines how changes occur when cultural practices and meanings are produced, migrate and are absorbed or resisted by generational groups. And it sets out a theoretical basis for future work in what has hitherto been a largely untheorised area.
This will be the first major study to explore these issues in a thorough and scholarly manner. The volume is based in part on an in depth study of the learning biographies of some thirty adults, conducted as part of the ESRC funded project Learning Lives, supplemented by a strong overview of existing research and an informed perspective on the wider context of intergenerational learning. While the primary research is based in the UK, the authors are involved in a number of transnational networks on igenerations and learning, and are well-placed to engage with key international debates.
Chapter 1: Introduction: the family, generations, and education
Chapter 2: Life histories and the study of generations
Chapter 3: Family learning: generations and gender
Chapter 4: Rebellious generations: sex and (changed) societies
Chapter 5: Second generations: the family, displacement and relocation
Chapter 6: Imagined generations: changing lives and new futures
Chapter 7: Inter-generational practices: critical perspectives