The purpose of this paper is to systematically review and trace the lineage of theoretical debates around social movement learning in the field of adult education. We compiled articles, books and conference proceedings on adult education and social movements from Google Scholar using the software Publish or Perish and manually filtered the data to only include those that explicitly address the topic. Based on the data, we identified key literature that scholars cross-referenced, which extended the review to include the literature from the 1970s until today. We argue that the theoretical debates about social movements and education can be characterised by four phases: 1) popular education within and for social movements, 2) the Old/New Social Movement debate and its radical influence on adult education, 3) conflict and pushback between scholars, and 4) social movement learning as a confluence of literature. We argue that it is only when scholars writing about popular education interacted with scholars promoting the idea of ‘new’ social movements that the current proliferation of ‘social movement learning’ emerged. Thus, the knowledge production of social movement learning itself has been a result of a dynamic and historical movement in the field of adult education.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Life-span and Life-course Studies