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BNELIT - Datenbank zu Bildung für nachhaltige Entwicklung: wissenschaftliche Literatur und Materialien
Bildung für nachhaltige Entwicklung: wiss. Literatur und Materialien (BNELIT)
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1. Aufsatz in Sammelwerk (SW)
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Transgressive Learning.
Journey to Becoming Ecocentric.
In Herausgeberwerk (Quelle):
SW Herausgeber(in):
SW Hauptsachtitel:
Global Citizenship, Common Wealth and Uncommon Citizenships.
Leiden Boston
Seite (von-bis):
″If you love it, you will care for it.″ The wisdom of this old adage relates not only to our treasured relationships with family and friends, but also to the relationships that ecocentrics cultivate with nature. In a 2013 study, I found that people who are deeply connected with nature are already engaged in climate change adaptation, a linkage that may be explained, in part, by the wisdom that we care for that which we love. The implication is that relationality with nature is an indicator of the capacity for climate change adaptation (Wolfstone, 2013).

Unfortunately, there is a knowledge gap regarding how adults become ecocentric. There is a considerable body of pedagogical literature on reconnecting children with nature; however, there is a paucity of educational theory and praxes on how adults learn to become re-connected with nature. I designed a research project to address this knowledge gap by asking the question: why and how do adults make a paradigm shift from anthropocentrism to ecocentrism? Findings indicate that the primary catalyst for becoming ecocentric is a profound experience that awakens empathy with nature and that emerging ecocentrics are intentional and self-directed in locating many ways of learning to become ecocentric (Wolfstone, 2016a). This chapter aims to explore the transgressive nature of ecocentric learning by focusing on its relational, holistic and informal attributes.

A few keywords need to be defined at the outset. ′Anthropocentrism′ is the dualistic notion that humans are separate from and superior to nature; ′ecocentrism′ is the nondual notion that humans are nature and are interdependent with all beings, both human and other-than-human. ′Transgressive′ refers to crossing a boundary of acceptability. Following Karen Barad (2003), I use ′onto-epistemology′ to articulate the inseparable and dynamic intra-relationship of ontology, epistemology and ethics. I present my work using first person active voice, thereby distinguishing my work from empirical research that claims objectivity.

A critical theoretical framework guides my analysis of the paradigm shift from anthropocentrism to ecocentrism. I start with Owen Barfield (1957) and his philosophy of the evolution of human consciousness in order to frame the shift in values. Karen Barad′s theory of agential realism provides new language for the process of ′becoming.′ I draw on critical educators, George Sefa Dei and Margaret J. Somerville, to explore transgressive learning. Ecofeminist philosophy provides an intersectional perspective regarding the oppression of women and nature.

Narrative inquiry is a qualitative research method that proceeds from the onto-epistemology of experience. Narrators create a new relationship with a past experience by voicing it in the present moment; this relationship is transformed once again when it is transcribed to text (Clandinin & Rosiek, 2007). Critical narrative inquiry is the telling of transgressive stories that disrupt hegemony and reconstruct new realities. Transgressive storytellers put themselves out on the edge, not to unsettle others, but to become more settled into the transgression they are undertaking. The research methods and procedures used in my research project were approved by the Athabasca University Research Ethics Board and are fully described in my thesis (Wolfstone, 2016a).

I am situated in place, time and theory as an ecofeminist settler living on Treaty 1 land in eastern Manitoba – the traditional territory of Ojibwe First Nation. An ancient culture that preceded the Ojibwe left signs of their respect for Mother Earth on the rock outcrop where I live, and out of respect for this sacred land, I work at decolonizing my relationship with the land so that I can listen to Mother Earth′s voice in embodied, relational, creative, and transpersonal ways. Out of heartfelt concern for the impact of climate change on the world that I leave to my grandchildren, I focus my research on the human dimensions of climate change adaptation that involve deconstructing necrophilic systems of domination and reconstructing an alternative future that values natality (Wolfstone, 2016b).
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