Power in Practice: Adult Education and the Struggle for Knowledge and Power in Society
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More About This Title Power in Practice: Adult Education and the Struggle for Knowledge and Power in Society


"The single most important contribution to our field's knowledgebase in the past two decades. The authors have managed to shift thefocus of adult education back to the social concerns that weretaken for granted when the field was founded. We are ready for thislong overdue book. Indeed, we have been yearning for this book. Itwill tilt our field back towards its moral center."
--B. Allan Quigley, chair, Department of AdultEducation, St. Francis Xavier University, Nova Scotia

"Power in Practice is a wonderful book--full of case studies,updated theories, new perspectives, and evidence that adulteducation can and does change people's lives."
--Michael Newman, senior lecturer in adult education,University of Technology, Sydney, Australia

Adult educators know that they can no longer focus solely on theneeds of learners without responsibly addressing the political andethical consequences of their work. Power in Practiceexamines how certain adult education programs, practices, andpolicies can become a subtle part of power relationships in widersociety. It provides a rich array of real-world cases thathighlight the pivotal role of adult educators as "knowledge andpower brokers" in the conflict between learners and the socialforces surrounding them. The authors discuss how to teachresponsibly, develop effective adult education programs, andprovide exemplary leadership in complex political contexts,including the workplace and higher education. Educators in themiddle of power struggles will learn how to become more politicallyaware while actively shaping their enterprises to meet importantsocial needs.


RONALD M. CERVERO is professor in the Department of AdultEducation at the University of Georgia. He is coauthor ofPlanning Responsibly for Adult Education (Jossey-Bass, 1994)and author of numerous articles on the politics of adult education,program planning, and continuing education for the professions.

ARTHUR L. WILSON is associate professor in the Departmentof Education at Cornell University. He is coauthor of PlanningResponsibly for Adult Education (Jossey-Bass, 1994) andcoeditor of the Handbook of Adult and Continuing Education(Jossey-Bass, 2000) and Adult Education Quarterly.


1. At the Heart of Practice: The Struggle for Knowledge and Power(Ronald M. Cervero & Arthur L. Wilson).

Part I: Adult Education and Work.

2. The Power of Economic Globalization: Deskilling Immigrant WomenThrough Training (Shahrzad Mojab).

3. Silent Power: HRD and the Management of Learning in theWorkplace (Fred M. Schied, et al.).

4. The Power of Discourse: Defining Work-Related Learning in the"Learning Age" (Elaine Butler).

5. The Power of the State: Connecting Lifelong Learning Policy andEducational Practice (Kjell Rubenson).

Part II: Adult Education in Colleges and Universities.

6. The Politics of Globalization: Transformative Practice in AdultEducation Graduate Programs (Budd L. Hall).

7. The Power of Race and Gender: Black Women's Struggle andSurvival in Higher Education (Juanita Johnson-Bailey).

8. The Politics of Positionality: Teaching for Social Change inHigher Education (Elizabeth J. Tisdell).

9. Transforming Boundaries of Power in the Classroom: Learning fromLa Mestiza (Mechthild Hart).

Part III: Technologies of Practice in Adult Education.

10. The Politics of Access and Communication: Using DistanceLearning Technologies (Nod Miller).

11. A Political Analysis of Discussion Groups: Can the Circle BeUnbroken? (Stephen Brookfield).

12. The Politics of Place: Producing Power and Identity inContinuing Education (Arthur L. Wilson).

13. Solidarity and Power in Urban Gay Communities: Planning HIVPrevention Education (Kimberly B. Sessions & Ronald M.Cervero).

14. Power in Practice: A New Foundation for Adult Education (ArthurL. Wilson & Ronald M. Cervero).


"...well written, very readable, and well referenced anddocumented...Highly recommended." (Choice)

"This book will be the single most important contribution to ourfield's knowledge base in the past two decades. The authors havemanaged to shift the focus of adult education back to the socialconcerns that were taken for granted when the field was founded. Weare ready for this long overdue book. Indeed, we have been yearningfor this book. It will tilt our field back towards its moralcenter." (B. Allan Quigley, chair, Department of Adult Education,St. Francis Xavier University, Nova Scotia)

"Cervero and Wilson have done us a great service. Until now, thedebate on power in adult education has been disparate and sporadic.In this book, Cervero and Wilson set about putting this right. Theyhave invited leading writers in the field to examine theory andpractice in terms of power. They have not asked them to abandontheir own particular passions but to revisit them, analyze them,and take their thinking further. And they have asked them to locatetheir thinking and rethinking in descriptions of practice. Power inPractice is a wonderful book-full of case studies, updatedtheories, new perspectives, and evidence that adult education canand does change people's lives." (Michael Newman, senior lecturerin adult education, University of Technology, Sydney,Australia)

"This is a must read book for practitioners and professors. Theauthors have clearly and provocatively reconceptualized our fieldof practice: power and privilege can no longer be ignored. Theadult educator is on the 'hot seat' for the decisions made;facilitators are no longer benign, objective professionalsexecuting their prescribed roles. Each of us must own up to ourchoices of who will and who will not profit from the programs weplan or administer." (Phyllis Cunningham, distinguished teachingprofessor, Northern Illinois University)