The selection of chapters has been governed by our aim, which is twofold. First, it is to explore the significance of learning both to those who undertake it and to society more generally, and second to consider how learning happens and how best it might be developed. Taken as a whole, these readings open up a number of perspectives on the role of learning in the reproduction of social life. They show how learning can be used either to reinforce or to change relative power in status or occupation, how it might reinforce or challenge an individual's sense of identity and the roles he or she chooses to play within the community. Learning is portrayed as the mechanism through which individuals and groups both adapt to their environment and change it. There are differences of view, however, as to the degree to which learning can be used intentionally to change organizations, communities or even individuals, in order to achieve predetermined goals.