08 SES 03, Looking ahead – Challenges and Dilemmas in Education for Sustainable Development
Parallel Paper Session
With a background in the current financial crisis in Europe and USA together with environmental challenges as well as increased social injustices and protests, taking form for instance in the Occupy Wallstreet movement, it is not hard to say that knowledge about sustainable perspectives in economic-oriented education is of crucial importance in Education for Sustainable Development (ESD). To this field of knowledge researchers in ecological and/or feminist economics (Söderbaum 2009, Nelson 2006) contribute by challenging the current neo-classic economic paradigm by offering a pluralist view on economics. Other researchers in pedagogy, with focus on learning economics and environmental science, contribute with perspectives on students’ perceptions on pricing nature (Lundholm 2007, Davies & Lundholm 2012). This paper contributes to the field by analyzing educational content where economic, social and environmental dimensions intersect.
The paper presents an empirical analysis of textbooks for International Economics in upper secondary schools with a focus on moral responsibility for the environment and society. The purpose is to analyze the meanings offered to students regarding the scope of taking moral responsibility in relation to the role of a business person. The different meanings are discussed in relation to different functions of education (Biesta 2008, Säfström 2005) and to ESD. The purpose is to contribute with knowledge that can support teachers’ critical reflection on educational content.
ESD is supposed to provide students with capabilities to move from a less to a more sustainable way of making a living, which generally involves a change in norms. In this paper we therefore use Gert Biestas distinction between different functions of education; a qualification function, a socialisation function and a subjectification function. The socialisation function and the subjectification function are in potential conflict to each other as the socialisation function requires the learner to adhere to certain norms and the subjectification function of education requires the learner to be able to challenge these and create new ones. We have therefore found the distinction between a process of subjectification and a process of socialisation useful in exploring the normative functions of ESD.
In order to inquire into the scope to be a moral subject we have also found useful Säfström’s distinction between the concepts ‘socialisation’ and ‘education’. This as education perceived as socialization has ‘passifying’ consequences. In such a socialisation process the capacity of being moral is placed outside the individual.
Biesta, Gert (2008): Good education in an age of measurement: on the need to reconnect with the question of purpose in education. Educational Assessment, Evaluation and Accountability, 21(1), 33–46. Cherryholmes, Cleo H. (1988): Power and Criticism: Poststructural Investigations in Education. New York: Teachers College Press. Englund, Tomas (2004): Inledning [Introduction]. In Tomas Englund, ed (2004): Skillnad och konsekvens [Difference and Consequence], pp 13–36. Lund, Sweden: Studentlitteratur. Foucault, Michel (1972): The Archaeology of Knowledge and the Discourse on Language. New York: Harper Colophon Books. Læssøe, Jeppe & Öhman, Johan (2010): Learning as democratic action and communication. Framing Danish and Swedish environmental and sustainability education. Environmental Education Research, 16(1), 1–7. Davies, Peter & Lundholm, Cecilia (2012): Students’ understanding of socio-economic phenomena: Conceptions about the free provision of goods and services, Journal of Economic Psychology, 33 (1), 79-89 Lundholm, Cecilia (2007): ‘Pricing nature at what price?’ A study of undergraduate students’ conceptions of economics. Southern African Journal of Environmental Education, 24, 126–140. Nelson, Julie A. (2006): Economics for Humans. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Palmås, Karl (2011): Prometheus eller Narcissus?: Entreprenören som Samhällsomvälvare [Prometheus or Narcissus?: The Entrepreneur as Social Change Agent]. Göteborg, Sweden: Korpen koloni. Polanyi, Karl (1944/2001): The Great Transformation – The Political and Economic Origins of Our Time. Boston. Beacon Press. Säfström, Carl Anders (2005): Skillnadens pedagogik: nya vägar inom den pedagogiska teorin [A Pedagogy of Difference: New Directions in Educational Theory]. Lund, Sweden: Studentlitteratur. Söderbaum, Peter (2009): Making actors, paradigms and ideologies visible in governance for sustainability. Sustainable Development, 17, 70–81. Östman, Leif (2010): Education for sustainable development and normativity: a transactional analysis of moral meaning-making and companion meanings in classroom communication. Environmental Education Research, 16(1), 75–93.
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