Promises of Freedom: Citizenship, Belonging and Lifelong Learning

Elayne Harris
2013 Canadian Journal of University Continuing Education  
There are two possible introductory sentences for a review of Promises of Freedom: Citizenship, Belonging and Lifelong Learning. One is succinct: Promises of Freedom explores a policy framework for contemporary citizenship. The other is circuitous: Promises of Freedom dives into the Möbius strip of citizenship, belonging and identity, social cohesion, democracy, globalization, civic renewal, emancipation, and adult and lifelong learning to isolate principles of lifelong learning worthy of a
more » ... ing worthy of a national dialogue as a foundational step in the policy-making of states and other parties to promote active and critical citizenship. The first sentence is short and succinct, and makes the focus of Promises of Freedom seem clear. The second sentence is very dense and assumes the reader can hold a multi-layered subject in mind while a nuanced and qualified predicate is carefully and slowly rolled out. It is also a much more revealing representation of Promises of Freedom's style and tenor. The scope of Promises of Freedom is laudable and ambitious-policy on adult and lifelong learning for the formation of citizens in an inclusive, pluralistic, reflexive, and active democracy. This ambition is so sweeping that only innocents and idealists would attempt it. Fryer is anything but an innocent; fortunately, he is a thoughtful idealist who brings sagacity, deep experience, and verve to a very difficult task. Promises of Freedom is an insightful, wide-ranging, nuanced, and inspiring guidebook to adult education with a social purpose. Promises of Freedom has three components. The first is a review of common, central, and highly contested concepts in the literature on engaged critical citizenship and belonging. The second component is an assessment of the potential within critical lifelong learning to advance radical citizenship. The third part is an articulation of principles to inform policy development on lifelong learning to generate engaged critical citizenship. The first is brilliantly accomplished; the second, valiant in its attempt to locate the gelatin in the jelly of lifelong learning that could "set" radical citizenship; and, the third, familiar material for adult educators who took the critical turn in adult education. Even for seasoned and scholastic adult educators, the review of concepts underpinning citizenship and belonging is reason enough to buy the book. Fryer provides an unparalleled, trans-disciplinary appraisal of key concepts, carefully noting multiple meanings that seem subtle Reviews / Comptes rendus
doi:10.21225/d53k5s fatcat:qdewgmk4uze6voicddce3cmm24