30 SES 08 A, Broadening the Issue of ESE: Curriculum and Organization
In this paper we present a sketch of a theoretical model on the creative and educative aspect of the political in environmental sustainable education (ESE) that can be used to conceptualise and investigate the deliberation when something is at stake and where students must handle conflicts. We are inspired by Philip Payne (2010, 2001) who argued for the importance to not by-pass “everyday ‘embodied meaning’-making”(2010:164) in both pedagogically activities and in research:
Indeed, the rational classroom is all to often disembodied of emotionally charged and aesthetically meaningful matters that, if so, immediately jeopardize the existentially great moral challenge the next generations will need to ‘cope’ with if, indeed, democracy and its derivatives such as pluralism and diversity are to be (re)valued and enacted (2010:164).
As Payne indicates, there is more involved than epistemological-rational arguments when we deliberate with each other. Taking departure from the radical democratic theory of political and upon John Dewey’s theory of experience, we explores and investigates the privileging and meaning making processes that occurs when disagreements is bodily and emotionally felt, , i.e. when something is at stake for the participants and the argumentation turns into deliberation. In Deweys sense: “…the thing actually at stake in any serious deliberation is not a difference of quantity, but what kind of person one is to become, what sort of self is in the making, what kind of world is making” (Dewey 1983: 150)
By using the radical democratic theory, foremost Chantal Mouffe (2000, 2005), Jacques Rancière (2006) and Zizek (1999), we perceive the political as the process of inclusions and exclusion, i.e. the process of privileging of different commitments and existential moral values. In an educational setting, such processes can be said to reflect a post-normal condition (Funtowicz & Ravetz 1993) where complexity, contingency, and uncertainty (Jickling & Wals 2012, Saloranta 2001) is lived through by the students and teachers. Such post-normal educational condition, will involve vulnerability for the participants since it addresses person’s commitments and existential moral values. This vulnerability embody at least two aspects; the first aspect of vulnerability be about that disagreement may convert your social relation to a political relation, e.g. from a relation based on sameness to a relation based on difference. The second aspect of vulnerability relates to the meaning making process; when the person gets involved in such situation the person risks to change the commitments, etc.
One of John Deweys hallmarks was that he insisted that epistemological, ethical and aesthetic dimension are inseparable, which means that they interpenetrates each other in the privileging and meaning making processes (Dewey 1987). Thereby, both the radical democratic concept of the political and John Dewey´s theory of experience pay attention to the emotional aspect of the aesthetics as working together with cognition and the moral when we make a choice between conflicting alternatives, this is to say when we deliberate. In this perspective, one can simply not be without the other. However, in an analytical process it is possible to separate the different value spheres in relation to specific research interests.
In our conceptualization and investigations we are interested in the meaning making that occurs in the deliberation where things are at stake, i.e. we are interested in both the privileging process and the result of this process in terms of students manners of handling conflicts. By highlighting the emotional dimension we are able to capture what is at stake, whose commitments, etc. are at stake and how the students solve the conflicts. This makes it possible to investigate and create knowledge on the process and results when the political becomes embodied.
Almqvist, J. (2005). Learning and artefacts: On the use of information technology in educational settings. Digital comprehensive summaries of Uppsala dissertations from the Faculty of Social Sciences, 3. Uppsala, Sweden: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis. Dewey, J. (1987/1934). Art as experience, in Jo Ann Boydston (ed.) John Dewey: The Later Works, Volume 10. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press Dewey, J. (1983/1922) ‘Human nature and conduct’, in Jo Ann Boydston (ed.) John Dewey: The Middle Works, Volume 14. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press. Funtowicz, S. O. and Ravetz, J. R.: (1993). ‘Science for the Post-Normal Age’, Futures 25, 739–755. Jakobson, B.,and Wickman, P.-O. (2007). Transformation through language use: Children’s spontaneous metaphors in elementary school science. Science & Education, 16, 267 – 289. Jickling, B. & Wals, A. (2012). Debating Education for Sustainable Development 20 Years after Rio : A Conversation between Bob Jickling and Arjen Wals, Journal of Education for Sustainable Development 2012 6: 49 Lidar, M., Lundqvist, E., and Östman, L. (2006). Teaching and learning in the science classroom: The interplay between teachers’ epistemological moves and students’ practical epistemology. Science Education, 90, 148 – 163. Lundegård, I., and Wickman, P.-O. (2007). Conflicts of interest: An indispensable element of education for sustainable development. Environmental Education Research, 13, 1 – 15. Mouffe, C. (2000). The democratic paradox. London: Verso. Mouffe, C. (2005). On the political. London: Routledge. Payne, P. (2010). The globally great moral challenge: ecocentric democracy, values, morals and meaning, Environmental Education Research, Vol. 16, No. 1, , 153–171 Payne, P. (2001). Identity and Environmental Education, Environmental Education Research,Vol. 7, No. 1, 67-88 Ranciere, J (2010). Dissensus: on politics and aesthetics. London: Continuum Ruitenberg, C. (2010). Conflict, Affect and the Political: On Disagreement as Democratic Capacity, Journal of Peace Education and Social Justice, 4(1), 40-55 Saloranta, T.M. 2001. Post-normal science and the global climate change issue. Climatic Change. 50. 395–404 Wickman, Per-Olof (2005), Aesthetic experience in science education: Learning and meaning-making as situated talk and action (Psychology Press). Wickman, PO. and Östman, L. (2002): Learning as discourse change: A sociocultural mechanism, Science Education, Vol 86, No 5, 601-623 Žižek, S. (1999). The ticklish subject – The absent centre of political ontology. London: Verso.
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