Silence – a matter of public concern: reconsidering critical environmental and sustainability education

Silence – a matter of public concern: reconsidering critical environmental and sustainability education

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Danny Wildemeersch

Pages: 1-12 | DOI: 10.1080/13504622.2017.1301385


The paper analyses the contribution of critical pedagogy to the reflection on environmental and sustainability education. It links this reflection to a case of a Flemish/Belgian citizen movement that sensitizes the public for the issue of silence, through various educational and community-based practices. These practices inspired the author to try and find out how the narrative of the organisation could be framed in terms of critical pedagogy. He therefore investigated how scholars on environmental education, particularly in this journal, have discussed over the years several theoretical and practical approaches of community-based environmental education. In addition he also explored how the notion of equality of intelligence developed by Jacques Rancière, and the concept of plurality developed by Hannah Arendt, could inspire that debate. It helped him to take a stance in the tension between individual and social transformation and connect it to the democratic practices of the citizen’s movement on silence. These investigations eventually resulted into an attempt to redefine good practices of critical environmental and sustainability education.

Keywords: Critical pedagogy, silence, public issues, individual and social transformation, spaces of transition, equality, plurality



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