This book fills the gap for a comprehensive, authoritative introduction to the field of adult and continuing education. Two of the most respected authors in the field, Sharan B. Merriam and Ralph G. Brockett, provide an insightful analysis of this rapidly developing field and a thorough grounding in its guiding concepts, purposes, and practices of programs. Comprehensive in scope, The Profession and Practice of Adult Education, offers a philosophical overview of adult education, clearly defines the field and its development, reviews goals and purposes, outlines the delivery of programs by agencies and organizations, examines major concepts and trAnds, and presents a vision for the future.Merriam and Brockett examine the role professional associations, literature and information resources, and the academic preparation of adult educators play in the ongoing professionalization of the field. They explore such critical questions as What are the objectives to achieving unity in a field as diverse as adult education?, and Are there advantages for adult education aligning itself more closely with education? Should the primary focus be on the individual or society? The authors take a broader global perspective on the troublesome issue of opportunity, access, and participation.The authors explore the area of adult education outside the mainstream of practice by examining who nontraditional educators are and what they do. They place special emphasis on social change as an objective of adult education. The book also touches on adult education as a forum for the international exchange of ideas and experiences and reveals what the field is like in other parts of the world. In the concluding chapter, Merriam and Brockett offer a vision of the future of adult education for the next millennium.