European Journal for Research on the Education and Learning of Adults vol:2 issue:2 pages:193-208
In this article, we look at three photos that each (re-)present a space of citizenship and community. We examine each photo through questioning how we tend to look at practices of adult education and community building. The examination process makes use of the same approach in each of the three cases. We focus on a particular place where citizenship nowadays takes place and wonder first of all what is to be seen at this location. This observation forces us to secure a sharp image of that particular place and to direct our attention to the specific citizenship practice that emerges there. It is an exercise in paying attention, which helps us to take notice of the singular way in which citizenship and community play a role in that particular context. In line with this, we also formulate some critical observations regarding a number of mainstream concepts in policy discourse such as social cohesion, active citizenship, lifelong learning, etc. These words often represent programmes that close the space for developing an original contribution to adult education rather than opening it up. These three images do not serve to present a fully integrated theoretical framework. Nor is it an attempt to develop a method. We wish, in the first place, to open the possibility to see things differently and displace our thoughts.