The Role that Adult Education can Play in Supporting Young Adults with Vulnerabilities

J Tacchi, Hanna Toiviainen, Natasha Kersh

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterScientificpeer-review


This chapter presents research findings on the communicative practices of adult
education (AE) providers and young learners in situations of vulnerability, from
40 AE cases in 20 countries. The research was undertaken as part of the EduMAP
project (Horizon 2020, 2016–2019) and serves to highlight the importance of
communication practices in activating the potential of adult education to cultivate active citizenship among young people at risk of social exclusion. We introduce the Communicative Ecologies and Assemblages (CEA) framework (Tacchi, Sabiescu, & Gordano, 2019) which is designed to help analyze the role of communication in AE and identify matches and mismatches with the communi
cation practices of young adults. Built upon the two related concepts of communicative ecologies and communicative assemblages, the CEA framework can help to map current conditions and processes, to gather knowledge for an educational intervention, or to map progress and effects of a program or intervention. We explore communication in two cases to illustrate some of our research findings and to demonstrate the variety of communicative ecologies and assemblages that can be crafted by those experiencing vulnerability and precarity. Attending AE often leads to developing and pursuing goals and aspirations and engaging actively in society (Holford & Mleczko, 2013; Jarvis, 2012; Kersh, Toiviainen, Pitkänen, & Zarifis, 2021). Attention to information and communication helps identify both challenges and opportunities to improve outreach of adult education and engagement in AE for young people at risk of social exclusion.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThird International Handbook of Lifelong Learning
EditorsKaren Evans, Wing On Lee, Jörg Markowitsch, Miriam Zukas
Number of pages23
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-67930-9
Publication statusPublished - 11 Oct 2022
Publication typeA3 Book chapter

Publication series

NameSpringer International Handbooks of Education (SIHE)
ISSN (Print)2197-1951
ISSN (Electronic)2197-196X


  • Active citizenship
  • Adult education in Europe
  • Communicative ecologies
  • EduMAP
  • English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL))
  • Special needs education (SNE)

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 2


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