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Teachers as agents for social change? Myths and Subject positions in transformative sustainability education
Malmö Universitet, Malmö, Sweden.
Stockholms universitet, Stockholm, Sweden.
Malmö Universitet, Malmö, Sweden.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-7643-1355
2016 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation only (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

In educational practice there is an ongoing discussion, about social change in relation to sustainability (Ferreira 2013; Jickling & Wals 2008, 2013; Laessö 2010). When our contemporary way of living is declared as unsustainable, and education is put to make a ‘social change’ towards a more ‘sustainable living’, we interpret this from a discourse theoretical view as the educational system becomes dislocated in the attempts of interpret this new order to strive for (Laclau & Mouffe 2001; Laclau 1990). In this state, new articulations develops to interpret how to make a new structure to stabilise the new order. Social change does not have any inherent meaning per se, it becomes formulated through its contextual use in practice. Therefore we find it fruitful to gain empirical knowledge of how teaching for ‘social change’ can be articulated in relation to sustainability. More specifically, we have formulated the following research questions as: - Which subjects positions among teachers can be identified in ESD discourses of social change? - Which 'myths' of social change can be identified in ESD discourses? By using theoretical frameworks of Laclau and Mouffe and Biesta, we identifies teachers’ subject positions and emerging ‘myths’ through analyses of articulations in teacher colleagues discussions of important aims of sustainability in relation to ESD. Discourse theory, analysing teachers discussions To analyse how 'social change' (re)articulate desirable aims in educational practice, we start from teacher discussions. The analyses focus articulations where students are supposed to act in relation to sustainability. Through the central meaning of those articulations, new spaces of representations are opened where it becomes possible to legitimate actions as natural, in the light of this new order (myth). In this study we have been able to identify three struggling ESD-discourses of ‘social change’, comprising desirable teacher-specific-positions and emerging myths of ‘social change’. twenty teachers in total were selected and divided into five groups which consisting of three to six colleagues in each group. The participants were science and social science teachers in secondary and upper secondary schools in Sweden. The chosen schools were either certified ESD-schools or actively involved in projects concerning sustainability. Each group discussion, which lasted about an hour, were recorded and transcribed. The result shows how the teacher is simultaneously identified in three struggling positions; the rational subject as a neutral conductor; the responsible subject as a role model or the reconstructing subject as a reconstructor. This depending on how schooling, socialisation towards sustainable lifestyles and political and ethical perspectives are identified as aims and educational functions (Biesta 2009), to formulate the myth of ‘social change’ in ESD. This has implications on how to acknowledge ‘social change’ as mainly being a process to empower students for ‘right’ choices or to uphold ‘social change’ as a way for students to explore new interpretations of a more sustainable living, to develop as political subjects (c.f. Lundegård & Wickaman 2012).

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016.
Keywords [en]
ESE, social change, teachers' subject positions
National Category
Social Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hh:diva-36893OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hh-36893DiVA, id: diva2:1212749
Conference
Nordisk forskningskonferens om miljö- och hållbarhetsutbildning, 27-28 oktober 2016, Örebro, Sweden
Available from: 2018-06-03 Created: 2018-06-03 Last updated: 2018-08-24Bibliographically approved

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https://muep.mau.se/handle/2043/21739

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Malmberg, Claes

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
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More styles
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Output format
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