The paper presents the development of research and teaching over a period of 45 years in a social pedagogy program in the Leuven University (Belgium). The case is interesting as such, but also has wider significance to understand developments in education, adult and community education and social work both in disciplinary terms and in terms of practice. It presents the theoretical sources of inspiration from diverse linguistic, cultural, policy and academic contexts. The chronology is organized in four distinct periods which are marked by turning points that are influenced by internal and external events. The first phase is the pioneering phase. The second one is the crisis and recovery phase. The third one is the multiplicity phase. And the last one is the reinvention phase. The paper also reflects on some of the major themes and issues that have given direction to older and more recent developments in social and cultural pedagogy such as the language issue, the emergence of the lifelong learning discourse, and the notions of community, solidarity and criticality.