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defining the enemy - adult education in social action

This book, written by Michael Newman and originally published in 1994, won the Cyril Houle Award for Outstanding Literature in Adult Education from the American Association of Adult and Continuing Education.

links: maeler's regard: images of adult learning (michael newman) · the third contract: theory and practice in trade union training (michael newman) · throwing out the balance with the bathwater (michael newman)
There is also an exploration of Michael Newman's work in the thinkers section of the encyclopaedia of informal education.

Michael Newman (1939- ) has made a significant contribution to our appreciation of adult education and lifelong learning. Refreshingly, his writing has been infused by a strong social commitment, a concern to explore and develop practice, and belief in the power of theory. One of his great achievements has been a series of books that have explored the issues, opportunities and orientations of 'activist educators'.

Michael Newman is Australian and started his working life as a journalist in Sydney. In the early 1960s he left for the UK where he tried his hand at acting, writing and film-making but found himself teaching adult education classes to stay alive, then setting adult education classes up, and then working for seven years as a community education worker in inner London. Towards the end of the 1970s he was appointed Warden of the Working Men’s College, an institution set up in 1854 to provide a liberal education for working people. In the early 1980s Michael Newman was invited back to Australia to head up the Sydney Workers’ Educational Association. He left the WEA to work for four years as a trainer with the Australian Trade Union Training Authority, and in 1989 took up a post as Senior Lecturer in Adult Education in the Faculty of Education at the University of Technology, Sydney. He retired from UTS in 2001.

His books include Adult Education and Community Action (1975), The Poor Cousin: A Study of Adult Education (1979), The Third Contract: Theory and practice in trade union training (1993), Defining the Enemy: Adult Education in Social Action (1994) and Maeler's Regard: Images of adult learning (1999). His most recent book is Teaching Defiance: Stories and Strategies for Activist Educators.

Defining the Enemy weaves together insights from Aboriginal adult education, trade union training, feminist adult education, peace education and environmental education. Michael Newman examines some key themes and proposals current within adult education and lifelong learning - and shows them to be wanting. He also looks at what 'really critical thinking' might entail and the contexts and traps that we can face. It proposes some processes that 'adult educators might use to help people learn how to identify, define, and then deal with their enemies'.   

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How to cite this book: Newman, M. (2007) Defining the enemy: Social action in adult education. www.michaelnewman.info. (Originally published 1994 by Stewart Victor Publishing).

This piece has been reproduced here on the understanding that it is not subject  to any copyright restrictions, and that it is, and will remain, in the public domain. First placed in the archives: March 2007.