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Politisk tendens, politiskt ögonblick och kreativitet: Studier av miljö- och hållbarhetsundervisning
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Educational Sciences, Department of Education. (Studies of meaning-making in Educational Discourses (SMED))
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 [en]
environmental and sustainability education, political, politics, experience, meaning making, poststructural theory, pragmatism
National Category
Educational Sciences
Research subject
Curriculum Studies
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-293442ISBN: 978-91-554-9606-7 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-293442DiVA: diva2:927737
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
List of papers
1. Searching for the political dimension in Environmental and sustainability education - a literature review: a literature review
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Searching for the political dimension in Environmental and sustainability education - a literature review: a literature review
(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:nbn:se:uu:diva-293441 (URN)
Available from: 2016-05-13 Created: 2016-05-13 Last updated: 2017-11-30
2. The political tendency in Environmental and sustainability education: a construction of an educational typology
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The political tendency in Environmental and sustainability education: a construction of an educational typology
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This article presents a categorisation of the different situations in which the political can be handled and experienced in environmental and sustainability education practice: the ‘political tendency’. Using a methodology inspired by Wittgenstein’s user perspective on language, we empirically identified situations that express the political tendency by looking for language games centred around the question how to organise social life recognising that this inevitably requires decision-making about different and competing alternatives. Classifying these situations resulted in a typology (the political tendency) that distinguishes ‘Democratic participation’, ‘Political reflection’, ‘Political deliberation’ (sub-divided into ‘Normative deliberation’, ‘Consensus oriented deliberation’ and ‘Conflict oriented deliberation’) and ‘Political moment’. Next, we discuss the developed typology from an educative perspective, showing that the distinguished situations in the political tendency differ as to how they enable the foregrounding and backgrounding of different educational goals: preparation, socialisation and person-formation (i.e. identification and subjectification as perspectife shifting and subjectification as dismantling). 

Keyword
Environmental education; education for sustainable development; the political; Wittgenstein; participation; reflection; deliberation; conflict; consensus; political moment; preparation; socialisation; subjectification.
National Category
Educational Sciences
Research subject
Curriculum Studies
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-293439 (URN)
Available from: 2016-05-13 Created: 2016-05-13 Last updated: 2016-06-30
3. Politics and the political in environmental and sustainability education: A construction of an analytical model
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Politics and the political in environmental and sustainability education: A construction of an analytical model
(English)In: Environmental Education Research, ISSN 1350-4622, E-ISSN 1469-5871Article in journal (Refereed) Submitted
Abstract [en]

Researchers in environmental sustainability education (ESE) play a central role in the political dimension that pluralism gives rise to. This includes the increasing theoretical tendency to view conflicts as ontological in a pluralistic democracy.  Curiously, though the political dimension of educational processes has been theorized in ESE, empirical studies are still unusual. The aim of this article is, through theoretical, methodological and empirical work, to construct an analytical model to generate empirical knowledge about politics and the political – where students’ deal with conflicts, decision, inclusion and exclusion - in teaching and learning activities.  This article recounts a combined empirical and philosophical study of the political dimension in ESE practice.  The empirical material consists of a video recorded lesson and attempts to understand why some of the students did not raise their voices to express their disagreements, even though they clearly express disagreements in a written survey after the same lesson. This contradictory pictures has rarely been discussed in ESE research literature. It is crucial to reflect on whether face-to-face relations tamp down conflicts and if the students consequently do not become educated in or involved in the political dimension of environmental and sustainable issues. This concern is addressed using Chantal Mouffe’s theory of the political and a pragmatist theory of emotions and meaning-making, particularly by John Dewey. Introducing a didactical analytical model of political moments allows us to identify when a moment occurs as political. This model also allows us to study the anatomy of a political moment: first, we never start from scratch, meaning that we experience things that we discover as valuable and to which we feel committed; second, the moment is one that demands a judgment between incompatible alternatives; and third, the moment require a decision between conflicting ends of a kind that will determine or re-determine some amount of previously assumed solidarity and communality, i. e. our social relations. These moments occur when students suddenly experience undecidability in a situation that requires a decision, which inevitably leads to an act of inclusion and exclusion. In other words, the political becomes embodied in a practice of politics in a given context. This may include not only a new appreciation for commitments as part of the political dimension but also invite a way of learning from experiencing political moment in terms of undecidability and antagonism. With these ideas in mind, we suggest that the political dimension can become the source of new understandings, particularly that politics inevitably is an act of inclusion and exclusion.

 

 

 

Keyword
Environmental and sustainability education, political, Mouffe
National Category
Educational Sciences
Research subject
Curriculum Studies
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-293440 (URN)
Available from: 2016-05-13 Created: 2016-05-13 Last updated: 2017-11-30
4. The creative use of companion values in environmental education and education for sustainable development: exploring the educative moment
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The creative use of companion values in environmental education and education for sustainable development: exploring the educative moment
2015 (English)In: Environmental Education Research, ISSN 1350-4622, E-ISSN 1469-5871, Vol. 21, no 2, 183-204 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Our paper addresses the emergence and evolution of values in educational settings. It builds upon and extends earlier work on companion meanings to develop a theory of the creative use of companion values and meanings in education. The recognition of companion values in educational practices highlight epistemological, ethical, and aesthetic transactions that occur in ways we characterize as 'other than modern.' Introducing the idea of educative moments allows us to identify situations where value spheres interpenetrate and interrogate each other in the meaning-making of students and teachers. These moments occur when students suddenly experience companion meanings and values such that teacher and student must deliberate together rather than the teacher dictating some dominating epistemological, ethical, or aesthetic value. This way, it is possible to accommodate critical and creative reflection in education where new values can emerge or evolve. We illustrate the theory by empirical examples from classroom conversations.

Keyword
environmental education, companion values, creative, education for sustainable development, educative moment
National Category
Educational Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-245340 (URN)10.1080/13504622.2014.936157 (DOI)000348307100003 ()
Available from: 2015-03-03 Created: 2015-02-26 Last updated: 2017-12-04Bibliographically approved

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