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Scientific paper


Building new foundations: the future of education from a degrowth perspective

Christoph Sanders, Nadine Kaufmann, Julian Wortmann

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Scientific paper

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Sustainability Science


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Abstract: Considering education in the context of making and unmaking sustainable futures, a growing relevance is attributed to the role of shared beliefs or mental infrastructures which shape the way people perceive crises and solutions. The currently dominant capitalist economic paradigm is seen as one such powerful belief that generates imaginaries which cannot accommodate sustainable futures. At the same time, in educational practice, social movements, and academic discussion, the perspective of degrowth has gained attention as an approach which challenges this paradigm. In this article, we address the role of education in processes of socioecological transformation in the context of degrowth. We do this from a perspective of practice, linking our experiences in non-formal education to academic discussions on education and sustainability. The aim of this article is to contribute to a pedagogy of degrowth as one path within a complex search for ways to imagine and support sustainable futures, which address root causes of the current crises. Analysing these crises as crises of conviviality, resulting from imperial modes of living and producing, we sketch the framework for sustainable futures marked by world relations of interconnectedness and solidarity. Relating a theory of transformative learning to a critical-emancipatory understanding of education, we propose two interlinked aspects for pedagogy of degrowth: creating spaces for reflection and emphasizing the political in educational settings. We discuss our practical experience as learning facilitators in non-formal educational contexts. As a cross-cutting challenge, we will touch upon the role of strengthening psychological resources in education for a degrowth society.

Sustainability Science, Volume 14, Issue 47, May 2019, pp. 1-11

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