Stephanie Freide

Stephanie Freide, M.A.

contact: stephanie.freide [at]

Research Focus:
The Logic of Offering Education in the Digital Realm—An Ethnographic based Discourse Analysis of the Government of Digitalisation at the “Volkshochschule”(Adult Education Centres) (Working Title)

Until recently, announcements of educational offers for adult and further education were advertised and organised in a decentralised manner: Providers positioned themselves locally, planned for a specific region and addressed local participation. Digitalisation has expanded these conditions. A network of diverse actors has formed across regions, challenging the previous logic of offering educational courses with regard to how providers approach their audience and position themselves. In the resulting interplay of both maintaining and evolving the established field of adult and further education, the establishment of platforms by and for adult education institutions highlights the specific application of these digital platforms. By centralising announcements of educational offers around certain actors, they have a specific structuring effect on the field and its logic.

Against this background, the research project interrogates the nature of adult and further education offerings in the digital realm and examines the related modes of governmentality of and by institutions. The Volkshochschule comes into focus as an entity with a long tradition. Established through a shared history, it has found a unique way of positioning itself in the outlined interplay of the field by implementing the VHS course finder. As a poststructuralist and praxeological discourse analysis with an ethnographic approach, the thesis interweaves different levels of analysis while examining the different forms of digital provision. These range from the digitalisation of announcements to the digitalisation of the conduct of the educational offer to digitalisation as the subject of educational courses. The assumption here is that digitalisation does not so much replace the previous logic of educational offer as iterate it by translating it into the field’s own logic. The COVID-19 pandemic will be considered a catalyst in this process.