Putting School in Its Place: A Narrative Analysis of the Educational Memories of Late Adult and Elder People

David Poveda, Manuel Palomares-Valera, Ana Cano


This paper analyzes narratives regard­ing educational experiences and memories of a group of adult and elder Spaniards. Data was gathered through life history interviews, most often by participant's grandchildren. Schooling is exam­ined as a life-transition from a life-span perspec­tive. While the participants of the study attended for­mal education under very different socio-histor­ical and political conditions, a number of shared patterns emerge in the data. First, participants on average spent little time in schools, yet overall would have liked to continue their education. Both the reasons to leave school and the curriculum in schools are organized around gender categories. Second, the implications of early school with­drawal are contextualized in the rural context in which participants grew up and which provided adult social roles and occupations that were only partially connected to formal education. Third, par­tici­pants show an orientation towards instrumental and school skills, which are also acquired and expanded in out-of-school contexts. The findings are discussed in relation to general theories of development in later life and situated in historical context.
URN: urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs0401389


aging; narrative analysis; gender; schooling; life-span development

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Copyright (c) 2004 David Poveda, Manuel Palomares-Valera, Ana Cano

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