European Governance in Adult Education

On the comparative advantage of joining working groups and networks




Adult education, European governance, policy coordination, social network analysis


This article examines the working of complex intergovernmental policies that have brought about new opportunities and structures in European adult education since the 2008 global financial crisis. Drawing on political sociology, it restricts attention on the Renewed European Agenda for Adult Learning (2011), to examine its historical development, and how it bundles together various governance mechanisms, policy instruments, and social actors to govern the adult education policy domain through policy coordination. This points at regulatory politics as a distinctive quality of European governance in adult education. Then, through Social Network Analysis, it explores in depth one of its policy instrument (i.e., coordinated working groups/networks) and the form of network governance it creates. This analysis pinpoints at the comparative advantage of some organizations (i.e., the ministries of Latvia, Finland and Belgium), which partake in this form of network governance. This produces unpredictable contingency in EU policy coordination.


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Author Biographies

Marcella Milana, University of Verona

Marcella Milana is Associate Professor in Education at the University of Verona, Italy. She specialises in and researches adult education policy from international, comparative and global perspectives, and has been writing about the politics of adult education in a globalized world, the conditioning effects of inter-states and international organizations on national policy and local practices, among other subjects.

Luigi Tronca, University of Verona

Dr Luigi Troncais Associate Professor in Sociology at the University of Verona, Italy. His theoretical and empirical research are devoted to the study of social capital, consumption, the third sector, and governance models. He is an expert of social network analysis, and a member of the editorial board of Sociologia e politiche sociali(Franco Angeli) and Italian Sociological Review(University of Verona).

Gosia Klatt, University of Melbourne

Dr Gosia Klatt is a Senior Lecturer at the Centre for Vocational and Educational Policy at the Melbourne Graduate School of Education (MGSE) at the University of Melbourne. She has political science background but her current academic and practical interest lie in the field of education policy, education systems, vocational education, transitions from school, post-communist transitions, Europeanization and intergovernmental relations in Australia and Europe.


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How to Cite

Milana, M., Tronca, L., & Klatt, G. (2019). European Governance in Adult Education: On the comparative advantage of joining working groups and networks. European Journal for Research on the Education and Learning of Adults, 11(2), 235–261.



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