The potential of popular education. Social action of adult education using the example of the pro-refugee movement Soziales Handeln der Erwachsenenbildung am Beispiel der Pro-Flüchtlingsbewegung: Das Potenzial der Popular Education

German Institute for Adult Education (DIE) Deutsches Institut für Erwachsenenbildung
Publication Type:
Journal Article
DIE Zeitschrift für Erwachsenenbildung, 2017, 2
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Migration across the North-South divide, from ‘poor’ countries of the South to ‘rich’ countries of the North, has shaped societies all over the world for decades. However, in recent years, following the wars in the Middle East (eg Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and Libya), Africa (eg. Burundi, Rwanda, Sudan and Congo), and Asia (eg Sri Lanka and Burma); countries of the North, such as Germany, Sweden, Austria, Canada and Australia, have increasingly exercised the privilege of acting as hosts to, and settling, large number of refugees. But these settlement policies and programmes are the subject of fierce political contestation, so much so that social action campaigns are waged to criticise and influence government policies and programs for refugees and asylum seekers. For the purpose of this paper I will deploy loose definitions of social action and social movements. I suggest that the constellation of pro-refugee and anti-refugee campaigns constitute respectively social movements. As a precursor to discussing the role of adult learning in social action, it should be noted there is a distinction between campaigns that are focused on raising awareness and mobilising support among citizens of host countries to those that are directed at supporting refugees and asylum seekers. But an equally important distinction is between campaigns that are led by refugees themselves as opposed to campaigns run by non-refugees for refugees. These distinction raise questions about whose interests are being served.
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