Milana, M. (2019). Debating (International) Comparative Adult Education Research: Reflections on Conceptual Clarity and Methodological Challenges, In A. Fejes and E. Nylander (Eds.), Mapping out the Research Field of Adult Education and Learning (pp. 203-221). Dortmund: Springer.

This chapter reflects on the main arguments pursused by Field, Künzel and Schemmann in Chap. 10 of this book. In the first section I interrogate the ways concepts used to frame a particular research field (e.g. Comparative Adult Education) conditions how we construe a field of academic knowledge and its positioning within the adult education research landscape. In so doing, I take a point of departure in what Field, Künzel and Schemmann term as International Comparative Adult Education versus Comparative Adult Education. This has the scope of shedding light on the complexities entrenched in pairing terms and concepts, and especially so in adult education scholarship that adopts a comparative mind-set (or assumptions about what ‘comparative’ means, and what research methods allow for valid, reliable, and significant comparative research). Such considerations contribute to wider reflections on the way research fields, in the Bourdieusian sense of social (and academic) milieus, are deliberately or accidentally construed (cf. among others: Milana et al. 2018; Nylander et al. 2018; Rubenson and Elfert 2015; Schemmann 2017). In extreme synthesis, in this section I argue that to flank one qualifier (international) with another (comparative), as in International Comparative Adult Education, raises problems that are worth attention when performing a cartography of research on the education and learning of adults. The problems with flanking or connecting qualifiers are well known in the academic field of Comparative and International Education, from which International Comparative Adult Education has historically emerged.