Transformative Learning and Civic Studies

Newly in print: The Palgrave Handbook of Learning for Transformation, edited by Aliki Nicolaides, Saskia Eschenbacher, Petra T. Buergelt, Yabome Gilpin-Jackson, Marguerite Welch and Mitsunori Misawa (2022).

Although I am not deeply knowledgable about Transformative Learning, a movement launched by the sociologist Jack Mezirow, I like its emphasis on learning as a lifelong process of transforming one’s perspective on society.

This volume includes a chapter entitled “Reconsidering the Roots of Transformative Education: Habermas and Mezirow” by Saskia Eschenbacher and me (pp. 45-58). Our abstract:

Jack Mezirow acknowledged the deep influence of the German philosopher Jürgen Habermas (1929–) on the development of transformative learning. We describe some fundamental elements of Mezirow’s and Habermas’ thought, explore their affinities, and argue that Mezirow did not give adequate attention to two important themes in Habermas: the power and value of social movements and the need to reform the overall structure of a society to enable transformative learning. We argue that transformative learning would benefit from a deeper consideration of these topics. Finally, we introduce Civic Studies, a parallel intellectual movement that also owes much to Habermas, and we suggest a convergence.