Mentality and Intergenerationality as Framework Conditions of ‘Lifelong Learning’. Conceptional consequences of a multi-generational study in East Germany

Peter Alheit


The contribution by Peter Alheit is based on a comprehensive qualitative multi-generational study carried out in East Germany. Its target is the reconstruc-tion of the individual processing of dramatic historico-political breaks in 20th century German history and the identification of varying intra-familial patterns of tradition. The result appears to be provocative: across the social environments ana-lysed, by far the larger part of the sample shows social orientations and attitudes to remain practically unchanged between the generation of grandparents and that of grandchildren. Alheit speaks of an ‘intergenerational resistance to modernisation’ which was characteristic of the East German society. The author uses this finding as the basis for an interesting broadening of the theoretical concept of ‘lifelong learn-ing’: it seems that educational processes throughout a life-span can only be adequately understood if underlying mental structures and intergenerational prac-tices of tradition are systematically taken into account.

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ISSN: 2183-1793