Using Foucault and Feminist Theory to Explain Why Some Adults are Excluded From British University Continuing Education

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Adopting a position that reflects Foucault's analysis of discourse, this study looks at the discourses that undergird traditional university adult and continuing education. It is an empirical study of community based university adult continuing education for three minority social groups (people with disabilities, people of retirement age, and people of minority ethnic background). It discusses the relationship between power and discourse, the internalisation of, and resistances to, dominant ways of thinking. The research consists of interviews and documentary analysis. A total of 52 interviews included 13 academics across four university continuing education departments, nine community tutors or key community contacts, and thirty course participants across three different social groups.


"Julia Preece's work is to be commended for she not only shows how the socially excluded are excluded – but she also illustrates how discourse itself generates social exclusion and she points beyond her own work to others (Freire for example) who demonstrate that educators have to speak the language of the oppressed before they can act as educators with them. This remains a lesson that we still have to keep on learning, and in its own way and through its own discourse this study reinforces that lesson." – from the Foreword by Peter Jarvis

Table of Contents

Table of Contents:

Foreword, Preface

1.Setting the Scene

2.The theoretical Framework

3.Research Design' widening Participation – The Case Study Contexts

4.Documentary Analysis – DCE and University Z

5.Academic Interviews

6.The Participant Groups – Historicity and Regimes of Truth

7.Maintaining the Power Relations

8.Talking Differently


10.Talking Differently Re-assessed


Bibliography, Index