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  • Open Access
  • © 2021

Young Adults and Active Citizenship

Towards Social Inclusion through Adult Education

  • Represents the first open access book to explicitly approach the complex interdependencies between adult education, vulnerable young adults and active citizenship

  • Purposely adopts a comparative lens to bring to the surface the country-specific cases relating this to European policies and broad research on adult education

  • Considers both convergences and divergences in the development of adult education and lifelong learning across Europe

  • Comprises original contributions authored by a wide selection of internationally acknowledged academics, established scholars, and junior and early career researchers

Part of the book series: Lifelong Learning Book Series (LLLB, volume 26)

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Table of contents (9 chapters)

  1. Front Matter

    Pages i-xix
  2. Active Citizenship, Lifelong Learning and Inclusion: Introduction to Concepts and Contexts

    • Natasha Kersh, Hanna Toiviainen, George K. Zarifis, Pirkko Pitkänen
    Pages 1-18Open Access
  3. How Are the Prospects for Refugees to Become Active Members of Society? – The Vision and Practices in Turkish Adult Education

    • Armağan Erdoğan, K. Onur Unutulmaz, Suna G. Aydemir, M. Murat Erdoğan
    Pages 79-101Open Access
  4. Adult Education as a Means to Social Inclusion in Nordic Welfare States: Denmark, Finland and Sweden

    • Paula Kuusipalo, Hanna Toiviainen, Pirkko Pitkänen
    Pages 103-120Open Access
  5. Promising or Compelling Future in Hungary?

    • Judit Tóth, Éva Szirmai, Norbert Merkovity, Tamás Pongó
    Pages 121-138Open Access
  6. Conclusion: Divergences or Convergences? Facilitating Active Citizenship Through Adult Education Across Europe and Beyond

    • Hanna Toiviainen, Natasha Kersh, George K. Zarifis, Pirkko Pitkänen
    Pages 167-182Open Access

About this book

This open access book sheds light on a range of complex interdependencies between adult education, young adults in vulnerable situations and active citizenship. Adult education has been increasingly recognized as a means to engage and re-engage young adults and facilitate their life chances and social inclusion thus contributing to an active citizenship within their societal contexts. This collection of chapters dealing with issues of social inclusion of young people represents the first book to explicitly approach the complex interdependencies between adult education, young adults in vulnerable situations and active citizenship from the European perspective. 

Social exclusion, disengagement and disaffection of young adults have been among the most significant concerns faced by EU member states over the last decade. It has been increasingly recognised by a range of stakeholders that there is a growing number of young people suffering from the various effects of the unstable social, economic and political situations affecting Europe and its neighbouring countries. Young adults who experience different degrees of vulnerability are especially at risk of being excluded and marginalised.  Engaging young adults  through adult education has been strongly related to addressing the specific needs and requirements that would facilitate their participation in social, economic and civic/political life in their country contexts. Fostering the active citizenship of young people, both directly and indirectly, is an area where many AE programmes overlap, and this has become a core approach to integration.

This book considers social, economic and political dimensions of active citizenship, encompassing the development of social competences and social capital, civic and political participation and the skills related to the economy and labour market. The cross-national consideration of the notions of vulnerability, inclusion and active citizenship  underpins the complexity of translating these concepts into the national contexts of adult education  programmes.


  • Open Access
  • Adult Education in Europe
  • Active participatory citizenship
  • Lifelong learning for Vulnerable young adults
  • Comparative adult education
  • EduMAP project
  • Social inclusion
  • Horizon 2020 project
  • Adult Education as a Means to Active Participatory Citizenship
  • Development of social, political and economic skills
  • Active participatory citizenship (APC)
  • sociology of citizenship

Editors and Affiliations

  • UCL Institute of Education, London, UK

    Natasha Kersh

  • Faculty of Education and Culture, Tampere University, Tampere, Finland

    Hanna Toiviainen, Pirkko Pitkänen

  • Department of Education, School of Philosophy and Education, Faculty of Philosophy, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, Greece

    George K. Zarifis

About the editors

​Dr Natasha Kersh is a Lecturer in Education and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy,at the UCL Institute of Education (UK). Her research interests and publications relate to the study of VET, school-to-work transitions and adult education in the UK and international contexts.  She has extensive experience of working and directing national and international projects such as EU-funded projects and UK-based ESRC (Economic and Social Science Research Council) funded initiatives. Natasha’s research and teaching activities involve active international collaborations and participation in a range of international initiatives including active collaborations with organizations and networks such as EPALE, CEDEFOP and  and Asia-Europe Meeting Lifelong learning (ASEM-LLL) network.   Natasha has authored/co-authored over 40 publications related to her field of study.

Hanna Toiviainen is Professor of Adult Education at Tampere University, Finland. In the EduMAP project she worked as co-coordinator and contributed to the broad research on adult education in the EU.  Her other research interests relate to work-based learning in interorganizational networks. Drawing on the concepts of cultural-historical activity theory she has developed analytical frameworks for multi-layered expansive learning in the contexts of work-life learning networks and global workplaces. Recent studies address both industrial cooperation and client orientation in public social and health care.  She is the co-editor of Working and Learning in Times of Uncertainty: Challenges to Adult, Professional and Vocational Education published by Sense in 2015.

Pirkko Pitkänen is Professor Emerita at Faculty of Education and Culture , Tampere University, Finland. Her areas of expertise include transnational migration, cross-cultural work and multicultural training. She has extensive experience in leading large-scale international and national research projects. These include five EU Framework Projects (FP3; FP5; FP7; H2020). She has published widely in national and international fields. Among her international publications are Migration and Transformation: Multi-Level Analyses of Migrant Transnationalism (Springer 2012); Characteristics of Temporary Migration in European-Asian Transnational Social Spaces (Springer 2018); Temporary Migration, Transformation and Development (Routledge 2019)

George K. Zarifis is Associate Professor of Continuing Education in the Faculty of Philosophy, Department of Education at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. His research interests focus on adult educators' training and professionalisation, university continuing education, and comparative examination of adult learning and vocational education and training policies and practices in Europe. He is the convener of the ESREA’s Research Network on the Professional Development of Adult Educators (ReNAdET). He publishes, edits and co-authors in the area of adult and continuing education, and participates in a large number of national and European research projects in the same field.

Bibliographic Information

  • Book Title: Young Adults and Active Citizenship

  • Book Subtitle: Towards Social Inclusion through Adult Education

  • Editors: Natasha Kersh, Hanna Toiviainen, Pirkko Pitkänen, George K. Zarifis

  • Series Title: Lifelong Learning Book Series

  • DOI:

  • Publisher: Springer Cham

  • eBook Packages: Education, Education (R0)

  • Copyright Information: The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2021

  • License: CC BY

  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-3-030-65001-8Published: 22 April 2021

  • Softcover ISBN: 978-3-030-65004-9Published: 14 February 2022

  • eBook ISBN: 978-3-030-65002-5Published: 21 April 2021

  • Series ISSN: 1871-322X

  • Series E-ISSN: 2730-5325

  • Edition Number: 1

  • Number of Pages: XIX, 182

  • Number of Illustrations: 5 b/w illustrations

  • Topics: Lifelong Learning/Adult Education, Sociology of Citizenship, Sociology of Education, Social Structure, Social Inequality, Life Skills

Buy it now

Buying options

Hardcover Book USD 59.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Durable hardcover edition
  • Dispatched in 3 to 5 business days
  • Free shipping worldwide - see info

Tax calculation will be finalised at checkout

Other ways to access