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Social Movement Learning: From Radical Imagination to Disempowerment?

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Studies in the Education of Adults Volume 43, Number 2, ISSN 0266-0830


Social movements at universities have recently flourished as a response to the Bologna Process and austerity measures at universities, but studies on learning within these movements are still scarce. Our goal is to describe one movement which started at the University of Gdansk in 2009 and aimed at democratising the university and implementing various changes concerning space management and decision-making processes both within academia and in terms of the future of education in general. The results show that knowledge and new skills came mostly from other European movements. Much learning was related to conflicts and tensions within the movement. At the same time as the members have learned to take responsibility for their place, there has also been another, less positive side of learning in this particular movement. Many members have burned out and learned that no significant changes could happen. Moreover, they experienced that cooperation between people with various ideas and values could be very difficult. The authors feel that this less positive side of learning needs also to be addressed in educational theory related to social movements.


Zielinska, M., Kowzan, P. & Prusinowska, M. (2011). Social Movement Learning: From Radical Imagination to Disempowerment?. Studies in the Education of Adults, 43(2), 251-267. Retrieved September 16, 2019 from .

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