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Field, John

John Field is Professor of Lifelong Learning and Co-Director of the Centre for Research in Lifelong Learning at the University of Stirling. His research interests encompass the social and economic contexts of adult learning, policy in lifelong learning, and the history of adult education and training. Together with Professor Gert Biesta, he co-directed the Learning Lives project (www.learninglives.org), which is now being written up for publication. The project examines the meaning and significance of formal and informal learning in the lives of adults, and was funded by the Economic and Social Research Council as part of its Teaching and Learning Research Programme. Theoretically, it is concerned with the interplay of learning with structure, agency, identity and change over the life course. He is also involved in a transnational study of Access and Retention: Experiences of non-traditional learners in higher education (http://www.ranlhe.dsw.edu.pl/). The research looks at how non-traditional students in higher education experience the processes of learning, how they perceive themselves as learners and how their identity as learners develops. It involves case studies in seven European countries, and is funded by the European Commission.

Downloadable Papers

Student volunteering in Britain between the Wars: Summer camps and the unemployed (2010)

Higher education and the recession: the early impact in Scotland (2010)

Researching Higher Education Access, Retention and Drop-Out through a European Biographical Approach:
Exploring similarities and differences within a research team (2010)

Soziale Netzwerke und Übergänge im Lernen (2010)

Exporting “people of British stock”: training and emigration policy in inter-war Britain (2010)

Well-being and Happiness - IFLL Thematic Paper 4

Able Bodies: Work camps and the training of the unemployed in Britain before 1939 (2009)

The Future of Adult Learning and Social Cohesion in Scotland (2009) - Paper for the Holyrood Conference on the Future of Adult Learning in Scotland.

Generations, the Life Course and Lifelong Learning - Learning Lives Working Paper (2008)

Good for your Soul? Adult learning and mental well-being (2008)

Learning Transitions in the Adult Life Course: agency, identity and social capital (2006)

Guest Editorial, Special Issue of the Journal of Workplace Learning (2006)

Learning, Identity and Agency in the New Economy: Social and Cultural Change and the Long Arm of the Job (with Irene Malcolm) (2006).

Lifelong Learning and Cultural Change: a European perspective (2004).

Researching Lifelong Learning: trends and prospects in the English-speaking world (2003).

Citizenship, European Enlargement and Higher Education: A Critical Perspective (2002).


C. Cooper, J. Field, U. Goswami, R. Jenkins & B. Sahakhian (Eds.) (2010), Mental Capital and Well-being (pp.17-31). Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.

Researching Transitions in Lifelong Learning (ed. with Jim Gallacher and Robert Ingram), Routledge, 2009, 240pp.

Social Capital and Lifelong Learning, Policy Press, Bristol, 2005, 190 pp.

Social Capital, Routledge, London, 2003, pp. 165. Italian edition published as Il capitale sociale: un’introduzione by Erikson (2004).

Lifelong Learning and the New Educational Order, Trentham Press, 2000, pp. 181. Second fully revised edition 2006, 204 pp. Japanese edition 2004.

Social Capital: critical perspectives (ed. with Steve Baron and Tom Schuller), Oxford University Press, 2000, pp. 307.

European Dimensions: Education, Training and the European Union, Jessica Kingsley, London, 1998, pp. 224.

Learning Through Labour: training, unemployment and the state, 1890-1939. Leeds University. 1992. pp. iv + 211.

Journal articles since 2001

Biesta, G.J.J., Field, J., & Tedder, M. (2010). A time for learning:
Representations of time and the temporal dimensions of learning through the lifecourse. Zeitschift fur Pädagogik 56(3), 317-327.

Field, J. (2010). Lifelong Learning. In P. Peterson, E. Baker & B. McGaw (Eds.), International Encyclopedia of Education (pp. 89-95). Amsterdam: Elsevier.

Good for your Soul? Adult learning and mental well-being, International Journal of Lifelong Education, 28, 2, 2009, 175-91

The Mental Wealth of Nations (with J. Beddington, C. Cooper, U. Goswami, F. Huppert, R. Jenkins, H. S. Jones, T. Kirkwood, B. Sahakhian, S. Thomas), Nature, 455, 23 October 2008, 1057-60

Partnerships in and for lifelong learning, Lifelong Learning in Europe, xiii, 1, 2008, 40-45

Behaviourism and vocational education and training, 1940-1975: the programmed instruction movement in Britain, Journal of Vocational Education and Training, 59, 3, 2007, 313-29

Bologna and an Established System of Bachelor’s/Master’s Degrees: the example of adult education in Britain, Bildung und Erziehung, 58, 2, 2005, 207-19

Articulation and Credit Transfer in Scotland: Taking the academic highroad or a sideways step in a ghetto? Journal of Access Policy & Practice, 1, 2, 2004, 85-99

Promoting Social Capital in a ‘Risk Society’: a new approach to emancipatory learning or a new moral authoritarianism? (with Kathryn Ecclestone), British Journal of Sociology of Education, 24, 3, 2003, 267-81

Civic engagement and lifelong learning: survey findings on social capital and attitudes towards learning, Studies in the Education of Adults, 35, 2, 2003, 142-157

Social Capital: an analytical tool for exploring lifelong learning and community development (with Sue Kilpatrick and Ian Falk), British Educational Research Journal, 29, 3, 2003, 417-33

Attitudes towards lifelong learning, Labour Market Bulletin, 17, 2003, 174-79

Badania nad calozyciowym uczeniem sie doroslych: tendencje I perspektywy w swiecie anglojezyczynym, Kwartalnik Mysli Spoleczno-Pedagogicznej Teraznjejszosc Czlowjek Edukacja, 21, 1, 2003, 63-81

Understanding Participation in Learning for Non-traditional Adult Learners: learning careers and the construction of learning identities (with Beth Crossan, Jim Gallacher and Barbara Merrill), British Journal of Sociology of Education, 24, 1, 2003, 55-67

Educational Studies Beyond School, British Journal of Educational Studies, 50, 1, 2002, 120-144

Lifelong education, International Journal of Lifelong Education, 20, 1-2, 2001, 3-15

Ambivalent Identities: The role of risk and contingency in adults’ descriptions of participation in education and training. Journal of Adult and Continuing Education, 7, 1, 2001, 75-92.

Recreating Apprenticeship: lessons from the Irish standards-based model (with Michéal O Dubhchair), Journal of Vocational Education and Training, 53, 2, 2001, 247-61.

Complete list of publications Aug 2001 - July 2006

Recent Book Chapters

Field, J. (2010). Promoting equality through lifelong learning. In R.
 Dempsey (ed.), Equality in a Time of Change: Mainstreaming equality in further education, training and labour market programmes (pp. 6-13). Dublin: Equality Authority

Field, J., & Malcolm, I. (2010).  Learning in emotional labour and emotion work.  In L. Cooper & S. Walters (Eds.), Learning/Work: Turning work and learning inside out (pp.169-181). Cape Town: Human Sciences Research Council Press.

Field, J. (2010). Models of provision of lifelong learning: how is it done around the world?  In C. Cooper, J. Field, U. Goswami, R. Jenkins & B. Sahakhian (Eds.), Mental Capital and Well-being (pp.17-31). Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.


University of Stirling, School of Education

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