In this article, we intend to reflect on community education in Portugal. We analyse the background of the emergence of community education in the aftermath of the revolution of 1974, examine the main reasons that contributed to its dissemination, and identify its characteristics. We present a case study that illustrates both the rise and the fall of community education. The original investigation was a multiple case study. To gather information, we used non-structured interviews, informal conversations, observation, and document analysis. To continue the original investigation, we used biographical research, which allowed us to obtain more data on some of the key individuals and, at the same time, to improve our knowledge of the communities. Our results show that the period between 1985 and 2005 (roughly) constituted a very important period for community education. National phenomena, European funding programmes, and a notion of adult education that was very close to popular education aided civil society organisations to work with communities with interesting results in terms of social change. After 2005, changes in European social policy, neoliberalism affecting the power of civil society, and a new version of adult education (influenced by lifelong learning) partially caused the fall of community education.
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