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Learning Democratic Reason: The Adult Education Project of Jürgen Habermas


by Stephen Brookfield — 2005

The work of Jürgen Habermas is often cited in adult educational literature as underpinning dialogic traditions and practices central to the field. But to many adult educators the density of Habermas's analysis and complexity of his language limit his influence on their practice. This article's intent is to render a comprehensive analysis of the totality of Habermas's work that demonstrates its enduring applicability for the adult education movement's traditional concern with developing in learners and citizens the critical reasoning necessary to democracy. In so doing the author relies strongly on Habermas's own words (rather than on secondary interpretations of these) and attempts to communicate Habermas's complex ideas in an accessible manner.


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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 107 Number 6, 2005, p. 1127-1168
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 11906, Date Accessed: 5/27/2017 5:57:00 AM

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About the Author
  • Stephen Brookfield
    University of St. Thomas
    STEPHEN BROOKFIELD currently holds the title of Distinguished Professor at the University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He has written and edited nine books on adult learning, teaching, and critical thinking, three of which have won the World Award for Literature in Adult Education (in 1986, 1989, and 1996). He also won the 1986 Imogene Okes Award for Outstanding Research in Adult Education. He has been awarded honorary doctorate of letters degrees from the University System of New Hampshire (1991) and Concordia University (2003) for his contributions to understanding adult learning and shaping adult education. During 2002 he was visiting professor at Harvard University. He is currently writing a book on critical theory and adult learning.
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