Gender and adult education in the era of social and cultural changes: (new) risks and challenges

ESREA “Gender and Adult Education” Research Network Conference

Conference Fees

  • ESREA members: 110 €

  • Non-ESREA members: 170 €

  • PhD Students: 50 €

    Conference fee includes: conference materials, lunches, coffee-breaks, a light dinner (18th July) and the book of the conference.

    The conference dinner (19th July) will be optional.

Conference Times

The conference will begin at 14h00 (Portuguese Time) on 18th July 2022 and finish at 12h30m on 20th July 2022.

Gender and adult education in the era of social and cultural changes:
(new) risks and challenges

2nd Call for Papers
Conference of the ESREA Research Network on
Gender and Adult Education
Faculty of Human and Social Sciences, University of Algarve, Portugal,
18th to 20th July 2022

In the era of globalization, a significant number of countries in the world experience similar social and cultural phenomena at three basic levels: macro-social and cultural changes, changes in individual identities and shifts in the area of socialization and education. Bauman1 emphasizes that globalization both divides and unites, leading to different living conditions for entire populations. In postmodernity, freedom of movement and mobility as a factor shaping social divisions become the highest value. According to the author, the progressing spatial segregation, separation and exclusion are a part of the globalization process. As a consequence, social inequalities and conflicts increase, also on the basis of nationality or race, as well as migration crises appear. In addition to the globality of migrations, extremely important trends are the intensification, diversification of migration movements due to their source, feminization and politicization.
People are increasingly experiencing cultural differences. Despite the processes of levelling life opportunities of people from different social groups in democratic societies, social antagonisms still exist, which inhibit the dialogue and development of their members. Using a gender perspective of analyses, men and women sometimes experience different challenges which are not new due to its patriarchal roots but may appear with distinct configurations and with weak visibility.
Postmodern theorists emphasize that the process of change is characterized, on the one hand by a progressive weakening of traditional social bonds and coercion, and on the other hand by an increase in the space of personal freedom. The desire for autonomy is a basic life experience nowadays. Human biographies become ‘self-reflective’, as Beck2 argues, transformed from biographies designated by society into biographies created by individuals. Such a change requires people to acquire the ability to think about themselves in the categories of creators of their own lives: planning, adapting to change, initiative, determination, flexibility and resistance to frustration. Contemporary people are forced to constantly make choices and make decisions independently; they must lead their own independent lives, freeing themselves from granted family ties, referring to new rules. However, the ‘biography of choice’ may turn out to be a ‘biography of risk’, because behind the facade of success there may be the danger of failure, for which, by taking control of their own life, people will have to take full responsibility.
An integral part of globalization as well as social and cultural changes is the growing importance of mass media and pop culture. A socialization and inculturation shift are observed, which means the loss of educational influence by the family, school and other traditional socialization agencies to mass culture (mass media, advertisements, fashion). Identity is shaped mainly by popular culture and the ideology of consumption, and to a lesser extent by national and state values. The media become the main source of individual’s life experiences. Transferring a large part of social activity to the Internet and to the media creates a risk of being influenced by dominating discourses and manipulation. A big threat to the development of contemporary individual is ‘post-truth’ (a conceptual category declared in 2016 by Oxford Dictionaries as the international word of the year), which means the phenomenon relating to circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than emotional appeals3.
Changes on these three levels are a big challenge for adult education, in which there is a shift from the high importance of formal education towards the growing importance of non-formal and informal education, independent and incidental learning, often unorganized and unsystematic2.
The globalization trends and neoliberalist values seem to counteract the intellectual and political commitments of feminism which appeals to a collective desire of changing society, according to the interests of all women and all men, rather than fostering individual competition, meritocracy or many other principles that may weaken solidarity, interdependence and the sense of living in a common world. Following this, we agree with Funk3, that it is urgent to discuss “which policies are the best feminist policies, what issues and forms of democracy need to be emphasized, what compromises are needed in the fight for gender justice and against neoliberalism”. The field of adult education shouldn´t ignore such a discussion and theory and research may offer valuable tools for male and female adults to face (new) risks and challenges that may arise from current trouble times.
Questions that arise and which we want to deal with during the conference concern the following issues:

  • How, in the face of social and cultural changes of the present day, do women and men function in the family, on the labour market, in local communities, peer/friendly groups, and how can education help them understand and adapt to these changes as well as develop their ‘biography of choice’?
  • How does adult education in its three types meet the needs and educational expectations of contemporary women and men who are affected by migration crisis, religious conflicts, social inequalities, radical movements, post-truth politics and fake news?
  • In what spaces of women and men’s lives is the context of the above-mentioned social and cultural changes revealed, and how does gender differentiate the life strategies and educational choices of women and men as a response to the challenges of contemporary world?
  • How (and if) (new) risks and challenges of current times affect gender social order, gender roles and norms and which are the implications of these potential changes for adult education practices and research?
  • How does adult education in its three types meet the needs and educational expectations of contemporary women and men who are affected by migration crisis, religious conflicts, Covid-19 pandemic crisis, social inequalities, radical movements, post-truth politics and fake news?

1 Z. Bauman (1998). Globalization: The Human Consequences. New York: Columbia University Press.

2 U. Beck (1992). Risk society: Towards a new modernity. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.


4 J. Ostrouch-Kaminska & C. C. Vieira (2015). Private World(s). Gender and Informal Learning of Adults. Rotterdam: Sense Publishers. Link:

5 N. Funk (2013). Contra Fraser on Feminism and Neoliberalism, Hypatia, 28 (1), p. 194.


Joanna Ostrouch-Kamińska, University of Warmia and Mazury in Olsztyn, Poland
Cristina Vieira, University of Coimbra, Portugal
António Fragoso, University of Algarve, Portugal
Sandra Valadas, University of Algarve, Portugal
Barbara Merrill, University of Warwick, UK
Maja Maksimovic, University of Belgrade, Serbia
Amanda Barbosa
Andreia Romeira
António Fragoso | University of Algarve
Beatriz Rodrigues
Bruno Sousa
Catarina Doutor
Liliana Paulos | Coordinator
Rui Zacarias
Sandra Lami
Sílvio Ponte
Sandra Valadas | University of Algarve

Network Convenors:
Joanna Ostrouch-Kamińska | University of Warmia and Mazury in Olsztyn, Poland
Cristina C. Vieira | University of Coimbra

Ph.D. in Sociology (University of Coimbra), Associate Professor at the Faculty of Economics, and Researcher at the Center for Social Studies. She carries research and teaches in Sociology of Work and Employment, Research Methodology, and Gender Equality. She is currently a member of the European Network SAAGE (Scientific Analysis and advice on Gender Equality in the EU). She is member of the Technical-Scientific Group of the Advisory Council of the Commission for Citizenship and Gender Equality. She is a founding member and head of the board of Directors of the Portuguese Association of Women’s Studies and Editor-in-Chief of the journalexӕquo(indexed in SCOPUS and WoS-Scielo). Her published work includes articles and essays in national and international journals and collections. Currently coordinates the research project: ENGENDER - Gender mainstreaming in curricula and pedagogical practices in Portuguese Public Universities.

Academic citizenship and gendered careers – tensions and challenges 
The experience in higher education institutions is dominated by gender-biased citizenship rules, in which women hardly reach a balanced position between rights and duties. The pandemic crisis is having a strong impact on both teaching and research activities and consequently on the structuring of academic careers. In this talk, the tensions and challenges that these impacts entail in a context of gender-biased academic citizenship will be explored.
Dead-line Actions Addicional Comments
15 March 2022 Submission of abstracts Send to (António Fragoso) and (Sandra Valadas)
20 April 2022 Acceptance of abstracts confirmed  
06 May 2022 Registration and payment Please book your accommodations as soon as possible
03 July 2022 Final papers must be submitted Send to (António Fragoso) and (Sandra Valadas)
18-20 July 2022 Conference  

Proposals are invited for papers, symposiums and round tables The abstracts should be maximum 500 words long and include a title and 4 keywords. Please send a separate file with the author(s) name(s), institutional affiliation and contact details, indicating which authors are going to be present at the conference.

All abstracts should be submitted by email to (António Fragoso) and (Sandra Valadas) by 15th February 2022. Acceptance of papers will be confirmed by 20th March 2022.

If accepted for presentation, the final versions of papers (no more than 5.000 words including references) must be submitted by the 3rd July 2022, also via email. Please use Times New Roman, 12 and the APA (American Psychological Association) reference system, 7th edition.

A paper is proposed and submitted in the form of an abstract by one person but other people can be named as co-authors in the abstract proposal.

Each participant can submit a maximum of two proposals (either as author or co-author).

The abstract must indicate which author will be presenting the paper. All those authors attending must register for the conference.

Further information on accommodation, travel to Faro and tourist information will be available on the website.

ESREA offers up to three bursaries of up to 300 € each for PhD students attending the conference, provided they contribute with a paper. To be eligible to apply, students need to be ESREA members (individual or institutional membership). PhD students should declare their willingness to apply when sending the final version of paper. In this case, the email should be addressed to /, but also to Joanna Ostrouch-Kamińska ( and Cristina C. Vieira (

Students are to use the bursary money in expenses related to this conference (accommodation, flight, etc.) up to the limit of 300 €. ESREA will refund these expenses against the presentation of receipts. Applications or questions regarding the application procedure should be directed to Alexandra Ioannidou:
Applications should be submitted no later than 30th of April 2022.

1- Pay only after completing the registration form.

2- Please pay your fee via bank transfer to the University of Algarve account:

  • IBAN: PT50 0035 0205 00011528730 91

3- When making the transfer, please use the info space on your home banking application to indicate your name / the name of the conference.

4- Contact (Liliana Paulos) to inform us on the invoice details (name, address, VAT, etc.).

5- If the fees are supported by your university/ research centre, and the name appearing in the invoice should be different from the person who registered, contact (Liliana Paulos).


ESREA is a European scientific society. It was established in 1991 to provide a European-wide forum for all researchers engaged in research on adult education and learning and to promote and disseminate theoretical and empirical research in the field. The European Society for Research on the Education of Adults promotes and disseminates theoretical and empirical research on the education of adults and adult learning in Europe through research networks, conferences and publications.

ESREA provides an important space for the (re)definition of adult education and learning in relation to research, theory, policy and practice to be reflected upon and discussed. A significant part of the periodic scientific debates is made through the meetings organised by ESREA research networks. ESREA also organised a triennial conference – the next will be in 2019, September – and runs the European Journal for Research on the Education and Learning of the Adults (RELA -

To learn more about ESREA, please follow the link:

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