Place, when discussed in ESE-research (Ardoin, Schuh, & Gould, 2012; Kudryavtsev, Stedman, & Krasny, 2012; Tuck, McKenzie, & McCoy, 2014; Tuck & McKenzie, 2015), is often portrayed as mainly a material concept with references to the theoretical framework of place theorists such as Tuan (1977) and Massey (1994, 2005).
The main aim of this paper is to study how an expanded concept of place, including both material and intellectual aspects, could contribute to an increased understanding of place and its possible uses as a concept in ESE as a research practice. The paper investigates how place concepts are used in ESE-research based on articles from recent issues of Environmental Education Research as well as chapters from International handbook of research on environmental education (Stevenson, Brody, Dillon, & Wals, 2013).
Within ESE research there exists multiple place-based approaches including “sense of place” (Stedman, 2003; Stewart, 2003) “critical pedagogy of place” (Gruenewald, 2003, 2008), “pedagogy of place” (Wattchow & Brown, 2011) all sharing an aim of restoring the essential links between person and place (Sobel, 2005). Given these interests within the field of ESE-research of exploring the relations of people and place this paper aims also to contribute to a critical discussion of place meanings used in ESE-research.
In this paper we extend recent fruitful engagements of pragmatism with geography (Wood & Smith, 2008; Cutchin, 2004a, 2004b, 2008) to the discussions of place within the field of ESE-research. The dual nature of experience in Dewey’s writings as continuous as well as contingent in both social and environmental settings could thus be conceptualized, with inspiration from Massey’s place as process (Massey, 1994), as a point of intersection between trajectories of place. As Dewey makes a general point in Experience and Nature about the need to bridge the separation of the material and the ideal and also makes a point of the importance of the role of intellectual experience, these trajectories would thus be intellectual, material and social (Dewey, 1925, pp. 74, 173–174). Such an expanded, Deweyan, concept of place provides the theoretical grounding on which we develop our expanded concept of place.
European Conference on Educational Research (ECER), Budapest, 7-11 september 2015