Edinburgh Research Explorer

Dr James Crowther

(Former employee or visitor)


  • BSc (Hons) Sociology
  • MA Sociology
  • PGCE
  • PhD

I have been involved as a practitioner, researcher and academic in adult and community education since 1980. My PhD focussed on adult learning in and through popular protests. I am the co-ordinator of an international popular education network (PEN) for academics and researchers in higher education. My main research interest is in the contribution of adult education to furthering democracy and social justice, which I have written about extensively in reference to popular education, adult literacy and the politics of lifelong learning, active citizenship and social inclusion. I have also undertaken research on the educational use of information and communication technologies, and social media, in struggles for environmental justice. I am currently the editor for the international journal Studies in the Education of Adults.

Current Research Interests

  • Popular education
  • Social movements and information and communication technologies
  • Adult literacy and Numeracy
  • The politics of policy in adult and community education

I am keen to supervise research in the areas listed above and on most aspects of adult and community education. I currently supervise students in the following areas:

  • Jo Forster (2011-) To what extent has adult education addressed the issues posed by the effects of de-industrialisation in North East England?
  • Noor Banu PhD (2011-) The development of moral education, civics and citizenship education in Malaysia.
  • Callum McGregor PhD (2010-) Collective popular action to address climate change: learning in and from social action.
  • Pyollim Hong PhD. (2010-) Becoming or acting as a citizen? Young people and citizenship education and learning in Scotland and South Korea.
  • Mario Cardona PhD (2009-) Learning and action in Maltese cooperatives.
  • Henry Young EdD (2008-) Ideology, contradiction, educational reform and social justice in rural areas of the People's Republic of China.

Collaborative Activity

Current and Recent Research

  • Learning from politics: learning to be a politician, August 2011-November 2011.
  • Social network sites and environmental activism: exploring the emergent relationship, March 2009-June 2009.
  • Learning through ICTs in social movements: a case study of the environmental justice movement in Scotland, May 2007-September 2009.
  • Motivating adult literacies learners to persist, progress and achieve: literacies learners at risk of non-completion of learning targets, August 2007-March 2008
  • Identifying and quantifying the social capital outcomes of CLD: a pilot study, Jan-May 2007


  • Community education: theory, policy and politics
  • Adult education and Lifelong Learning
  • Adult Education
  • Community education: concepts and controversies

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