European Journal for Research on the Education and Learning of Adults
2013 pp. 81-96

Title: Comparing 'Popular' and 'State' education in Latin America and Europe
Author: Liam Kane
Affiliation: University of Glasgow, Scotland (
DOI: 10.3384/rela.2000-7426.rela0085
First published: 2013-04-10
Year: 2013
Pages: 81-96
Number of pages: 16
Article number: RELA0085
Language: English
Publisher: Linköping University Electronic Press, Linköping University, Sweden
Publication type: Journal article
Journal: European Journal for Research on the Education and Learning of Adults
ISSN: 2000-7426


In the 1970s, a radical adult education movement in Latin America, operating outside the state and engaging in what it called 'popular education', sparked world-wide interest in its educational theory and practice. More recently, with a change in state formations in Latin America, the movement has reconsidered its potential relationship with the state. Though Europe has its own history of popular education, some have argued that advanced economies and welfare states co-opted any strong independent educational movement: today popular education is more likely to take place 'within and against' the state, rather than outside it. Based on literature review, personal interviews and site visits, this article (a) discusses what is understood by popular education (b) outlines the development of popular education in Latin America, examining its relationship with different types of state (c) considers differences between Latin America and Europe and what, if anything, popular educators in the two regions might learn from each other.


Popular education; radical education; social movement education; Latin America

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