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Searching for the political dimension in Environmental and sustainability education - a literature review: a literature review
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Educational Sciences, Department of Education. (Studies of meaning-making in Educational Discourses (SMED))
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Educational Sciences, Department of Education. (Studies of meaning-making in Educational Discourses (SMED))
(English)In: Environmental Education Research, ISSN 1350-4622, E-ISSN 1469-5871Article in journal (Refereed) Submitted
Abstract [en]

Politics and the political have made an impression in the field of Environmental Sustainability Education (ESE), where researchers see potentialities for students to develop a respect for the diversity of personal choices and create new and unexpected opinions when they encounter the political dimension in teaching and learning activities in the classroom.  The research field consists of a rich and diverse group of scholars that have diverging perspectives on the political dimension of ESE. The aim of the article is to study how the political dimension is conceptualized and how these findings impact the political as educational content in teaching and learning activities in ESE practice. Building on a review of research literature, this article identifies three major approaches in the research field. After comparing these approaches, we conclude the study by suggesting fruitful directions for further research in order to productively translate the idea of the political dimension into educational settings. We suggest the need for empirical research concerning the political dimension as well as a need for research on ESE that more thoroughly integrates the concept of politics, the understanding of the political as embodied and not only learning about the political dimension but also learning from the political dimension.

 

National Category
Educational Sciences
Research subject
Curriculum Studies
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-293441OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-293441DiVA: diva2:927735
Available from: 2016-05-13 Created: 2016-05-13 Last updated: 2016-06-30
In thesis
1. Politisk tendens, politiskt ögonblick och kreativitet: Studier av miljö- och hållbarhetsundervisning
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Politisk tendens, politiskt ögonblick och kreativitet: Studier av miljö- och hållbarhetsundervisning
2016 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis takes its point of departure in the political dimension in Environmental and Sustainability Education (ESE). In the research field different views exist – containing both similarities and differences – regarding what is meant by ‘the political’ in the context of educational practice. What do different authors, policymakers, practitioners etc. mean when they refer to ´the political´ within the context of ESE? The ambiguity that characterises the discussions on the political dimension of (environmental and sustainability) education can impede and blur both research and professional reflection. This can create confusion, particularly amongst teachers, and a clarification of ‘the political’ through an investigation of how it appears in educational practice is vital.

The thesis contributes with an educational typology and an analytical model of political moments to identify how the political dimension may emerge in different ways in educational practices. As part of these models the thesis also contributes with two theoretical-analytical concepts – educative moment and creativity – to be used to further discuss how education can use the political to explore new values and new behaviours regarding environmental and sustainable concerns.

The theoretical frames of the thesis are poststructural and pragmatic theories, foremost by Chantal Mouffe and John Dewey. The thesis is especially built on a pragmatist and anti-essentialist approach, which argues that we socially construct the meaning of right and wrong, and of what works better in our lives in problematic situations. The thesis has four purposes and the results are presented in four studies. The first purpose examines how Environmental Sustainability Education (ESE) research literature conceptualize the political dimension, and how these findings impact the political dimension as educational content in teaching and learning activities in ESE practice. The second purpose examines different situations in which the political can be handled and experienced in environmental and sustainability education practice. This purpose is dealt with in the second study and the result is a didactical typology called the political tendency. The third purpose is to examine the political and politics in teaching and learning activities, both cognitive and emotional, about antagonism, conflicts, inclusion and exclusion. This purpose is dealt with in the third study and the results are illustrated by empirical examples. The fourth purpose examines the idea of creativity in relation to the political dimension, i. e. where new values can emerge or evolve. These purpose is dealt with in study 2, 3 and 4 and the results are presented as two theoretical-analytical concepts: educative moments and creativity concerning the political dimension in ESE.

My ambition is that this thesis will contribute to the discussion about how teaching and learning activities that include a political dimension in ESE can use the presented models to identify educational content of the political dimension, and to further understand how individuals create their relation to their social and physical surroundings. Another ambition is to contribute to philosophical and methodological discussions about the relation between the political dimension, meaning making and embodiment within environmental and sustainability education.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2016. 86 p.
Series
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Educational Sciences, 11
Keyword
environmental and sustainability education, political, politics, experience, meaning making, poststructural theory, pragmatism
National Category
Educational Sciences
Research subject
Curriculum Studies
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-293442 (URN)978-91-554-9606-7 (ISBN)
Public defence
2016-09-09, Eva Netzelius, Blåsenhus, von Kraemers Allé 1, Uppsala, 13:15 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2016-06-30 Created: 2016-05-13 Last updated: 2016-07-19Bibliographically approved

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