Acting against health inequalities through popular education

A Scottish case-study


  • Lyn Tett University of Edinburgh



democracy, health, popular education, power, experential knowledge


This article investigates if health inequalities can be reduced using popular education (PE) methods. It argues that, although ill health may be experienced as a private trouble, it is embedded in broader social and political processes and should be seen as a public issue. It illuminates this concept of health by using student writings from the Health Issues in the Community (HIIC) project. These writings illustrate the impact of unemployment, lack of facilities, food poverty etc. on people’s physical and mental health and the action they have taken to challenge and reduce these inequalities. It is argued that PE contributes to human flourishing, but the educator must resist the power they have to steer students in particular directions. It concludes that whilst PE cannot abolish health inequalities, HIIC participants have taken small steps to change existing realities and so have challenged oppressive social relations.


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Author Biography

Lyn Tett, University of Edinburgh

Lyn Tett is Professor Emerita at the Universities of Edinburgh and Huddersfield.  Her research focuses on the factors that lead to the exclusion of adults from post-compulsory education and the action that might be taken to promote social inclusion.


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How to Cite

Tett, L. (2023). Acting against health inequalities through popular education: A Scottish case-study . European Journal for Research on the Education and Learning of Adults, 14(1), 163–175.