As a multidimensional set of activities, the Research Centre operates in the tension field between social change in modern societies and relevant policy fields – not only education and training, but also in particular youth, employment and family. It addresses a spectrum of democratic social action spanning both social inclusion and interculturality, embedded in an understanding of lifelong/lifewide learning together with work-life balance whose rationale lies both in contributing to shaping knowledge societies and in fostering capacity and potential for active citizenship – and this implies making use of the full range of formal, non-formal and informal learning modalities. Three thematic clusters express these concerns:

Cluster 1: Teaching/training – learning – lifecourse

  • Learning as a lifelong, lifewide and continuous, dynamic process, including research on the lifecourse and the social, political and educational settings that permit and further lifelong learning
  • Teaching/training and learning across the entire spectrum of informal, non-formal and formal learning (including e-education), that is, educational processes as well as their respective learning fields, structures and institutions
  • The critical study of education and educational policy and action not only to illuminate changing concepts of ‘education’ per se but also to analyse and evaluate specific learning and teaching/training situations, learning processes, target groups and institutional settings

Cluster 2: Education, training and participation

  • Analysis of the conditions and learning opportunities for education for active and democratic participation in public life, in particular in civil society and politics in the wider sense; this comprises, for example, human rights education, anti-racist education, peace education, global education, environmental education, education for sustainable development, community education, equality, violence prevention and conflict solving.
  • Educational theory-building about and research into the cultural dimensions of social life, in particular acculturation, enculturation, cultural identity, cultural change, multicultural society and intercultural education.
  • Charting contemporary dimensions of the production and reproduction of inequalities in and through education and how to counter these processes, in order to foster equal opportunities and equality of treatment throughout life.

Cluster 3: Generation – gender – subjectivity

  • The study of generational and gender relations and relationships, including media generations, at the macro, meso and macro levels,  in the context of their implications for educational process and outcome.
  • Exploring the structure and influence of mass media, media technologies and e-learning as learning settings with a view to understanding the relations between cultural production and reproduction and between active-passive production-consumption processes.
  • For individualised and globalized life-worlds, analysis of life-historical identity practices in everyday life and in social context and their consequences for education and socialisation processes.