We are very delighted to announce that our new article: Boyadjieva P., & Ilieva-Trichkova P. (2022). Empowerment Through Lifelong Learning: A Social Justice Perspective. In: Evans K., Markowitsch J., Lee W.O., Zukas M. (eds) Third International Handbook of Lifelong Learning. Springer International Handbooks of Education. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-67930-9_8-1, which was prepared within the JustEdu project, has been just published: https://link.springer.com/referenceworkentry/10.1007/978-3-030-67930-9_8-1.
Our contemporary world is characterized by highly dynamic, growing inequalities between and within societies, as well as increased insecurity and vulnerability. Under such conditions, there are no ready, easily applied, and transferable answers about how individuals and societies can cope with these emerging challenges. Facing such new challenges, all individuals and societies become susceptible and vulnerable to various extents; so, against this background, the present chapter argues: 1) that there is a need to reimagine the essence and role of lifelong learning and 2) that the empowerment role of lifelong education and learning is crucial, penetrating all its other roles, and applies to all individuals and societies.
Theoretically, the chapter builds on a combination of insights from the capability approach (Sen) and Nancy Fraser’s theory of social justice. We regard the empowerment role of lifelong learning as having two sides: a subjective one, referring to an individual’s capability to gain control over the environment with the aim of improving their own well-being and that of society, and an objective one, reflecting the available opportunity structures.
Empirically, the chapter relies on data from the European Social Survey, carried out in 2012 and explores the link between lifelong learning and individuals’ empowerment via descriptive statistics and multilevel regression analyses. Our findings provide suggestive evidence of a positive relationship between lifelong learning and individuals’ capacity to cope with the challenges in their lives and to work for the well-being of others. The analysis also shows that these links with lifelong learning are embedded in the available opportunity structures.