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Field, John

John Field

John Field
is Professor of Lifelong Learning at the University of Stirling, where he directs the Division of Academic Innovation and Continuing Education. He has published widely on the education and training of adults.

Room D19, DAICE, Pathfoot
University of Stirling



Tel: + 44 (0) 1786 467946

fax Fax: + 44 (0) 1786 467633/466131
web Web:

I have a long-standing background of interest and involvement in lifelong learning.  After serving as Deputy Principal (Research) from 2002 to 2007, I am currently on research leave, part of which is being spent as an adviser to the Government Office of Science's project on Mental Capital and Well-being. After completing a Bachelors at Portsmouth, followed by a doctorate at Warwick, I became Tutor in Economic and Social History at the Northern College for Residential Adult Education. After eight years in Barnsley, I then became a Lecturer in Continuing Education at the University of Warwick, ending as Chair of Department and Professor of Lifelong Learning. Much of my work throughout my career has involved developing second chance opportunities for non-traditional learners, as well as researching a range of aspects of adult learning.

I joined Stirling in 2002. Within DAICE, I teach an introduction to the social sciences on our Access Course and am Associate Director for ESCalate (the national subject centre for educational studies ( I also lead a major research project funded by the Economic and Social Research Council; in partnership with colleagues at Exeter, Brighton and Leeds, the Learning Lives project is examining the meaning and significance of formal and informal learning in the lives of adults, and aims to identify ways in which the learning of adults can be supported and enhanced (

Externally, I am a member of the governing body for Newbattle Abbey College and a Visiting Professor of Birkbeck College, University of London.

Co-Director of the Centre for Research in Lifelong Learning.

Downloadable Papers

Guest Editorial, Special Issue of the Journal of Workplace Learning (2006)

Learning, Identity and Agency in the New Economy: Social and Cultural Change and the Long Arm of the Job (with Irene Malcolm) (2006).

Lifelong Learning and Coltural Change: a European perspective (2004).

Researching Lifelong Learning: trends and prospects in the English-speaking world (2003).

Citizenship, European Enlargement and Higher Education: A Critical Perspective (2002).


Social Capital and Lifelong Learning, Policy Press, Bristol, 2005, 190 pp.

Social Capital, Routledge, London, 2003, pp. 165. Italian edition published as Il Capitale Scoiale: un introduzione by Erikson (2004).

Lifelong Learning and the New Educational Order, Trentham Press, 2000, pp. 181. Second fully revised edition 2006, 204 pp. Japanese edition 2004.

Social Capital: critical perspectives (ed. with Steve Baron and Tom Schuller), Oxford University Press, 2000, pp. 307.

European Dimensions: Education, Training and the European Union, Jessica Kingsley, London, 1998, pp. 224.

Learning Through Labour: training, unemployment and the state, 1890-1939. Leeds University. 1992. pp. iv + 211.

Journal articles since 2001

Bologna and an Established System of Bachelors/Masters Degrees: the example of adult education in Britain, Bildung und Erziehung, 58, 2, 2005, 207-19

Articulation and Credit Transfer in Scotland: Taking the academic highroad or a sideways step in a ghetto? Journal of Access Policy & Practice, 1, 2, 2004, 85-99

Promoting Social Capital in a Risk Society: a new approach to emancipatory learning or a new moral authoritarianism? (with Kathryn Ecclestone), British Journal of Sociology of Education, 24, 3, 2003, 267-81

Civic engagement and lifelong learning: survey findings on social capital and attitudes towards learning, Studies in the Education of Adults, 35, 2, 2003, 142-157

Social Capital: an analytical tool for exploring lifelong learning and community development (with Sue Kilpatrick and Ian Falk), British Educational Research Journal, 29, 3, 2003, 417-33

Attitudes towards lifelong learning, Labour Market Bulletin, 17, 2003, 174-79

Badania nad calozyciowym uczeniem sie doroslych: tendencje I perspektywy w swiecie anglojezyczynym, Kwartalnik Mysli Spoleczno-Pedagogicznej Teraznjejszosc Czlowjek Edukacja, 21, 1, 2003, 63-81

Understanding Participation in Learning for Non-traditional Adult Learners: learning careers and the construction of learning identities (with Beth Crossan, Jim Gallacher and Barbara Merrill), British Journal of Sociology of Education, 24, 1, 2003, 55-67

Educational Studies Beyond School, British Journal of Educational Studies, 50, 1, 2002, 120-144

Lifelong education, International Journal of Lifelong Education, 20, 1-2, 2001, 3-15

Ambivalent Identities: The role of risk and contingency in adults descriptions of participation in education and training. Journal of Adult and Continuing Education, 7, 1, 2001, 75-92.

Recreating Apprenticeship: lessons from the Irish standards-based model (with Michéal O Dubhchair), Journal of Vocational Education and Training, 53, 2, 2001, 247-61.

Complete list of publications Aug 2001 - July 2006