1st Edition

Critical Realism, Environmental Learning and Social-Ecological Change

Edited By Leigh Price, Heila Lotz-Sistka Copyright 2016
    384 Pages
    by Routledge

    384 Pages 23 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Southern Africa, where most of these book chapters originate, has been identified as one of regions of the world most at risk of the consequences of environmental degradation and climate change. At the same time, it is still seeking ways to overcome the century long ravages of colonial and apartheid impositions of structural and epistemic violence. Research deliberations and applied research case studies in environmental education and activism from this region provide an emerging contextualized engagement that is related to a wider internationally articulated quest to achieve social-ecological justice, resilience and sustainability through educational interventions.

    This book introduces a decade of mainly southern African critical realist environmental education research and thinking that asks the question: "How can we facilitate learning processes that will lead to the flourishing of the Earth’s people and ecosystems in more socially just ways?" The environmental education research topics represented in this book are wide-ranging. However, they all exhibit the common theme of social justice and wanting to create change towards a better future. All the authors have used critical realist or critical realist-influenced research methodologies. Offering contributions from a small but growing community of researchers working with critical realism in the global South, this book will be of interest to students, scholars and practitioners in the areas of environmental education, sustainability, development and the philosophy of critical realism in general.

    1. Why critical realism, environmental learning and social-ecological change? Introducing the chapters  2. Key critical realist concepts for environmental educators   3. Using critical realism to explain change in the context of participatory mapping and resilience   4. Networking: Enabling or constraining institutionalization of environmental education courses in universities   5. Underlabouring systems thinking with critical realism in understanding Rhodes University’s response to the sustainability imperative   6. Bhaskar and collective action: Using lamination as a framework for reviewing the literature on collective action   7. Absenting the absence of parallel learning pathways for intermediate skills: The ‘missing middle’ in the environmental sector in South Africa   8. The emergence of environmental ethics discourses in stratified, open systems: some educational considerations   9. Working with critical realist perspective and tools at the interface of indigenous and scientific knowledge in a science curriculum setting    10. Indigenous knowledge and critical realism on the Eastern Coast of Tanzania  11. Dialectical critical realism and Cultural Historical Activity Theory (CHAT): Exploring and expanding learning processes in sustainable agriculture workplace contexts   12. Community learning as a passage through the dialectic? Engaging with absences in an irrigation scheme in Mozambique  13. Exploring contradictions and absences in mobilizing ‘learning as process’ for sustainable agricultural practices  14. Exploring critical realist insights into transformative environmental learning processes in contexts of social-ecological risk   15. Emergent properties and position-practice system of university educators in the mainstreaming of Education for Sustainable Development   16. Steel Valley and the absence of environmental justice in the new South Africa: Critical realism’s kinship with environmental justice  17. Absenting absence: Expanding zones of proximal development in environmental learning processes   18. Some implications of metaReality for environmental educators  


    Leigh Price is a member of the Centre for Critical Realism, an Associate of the International Centre for Critical Realism, a Research Associate of Rhodes University, South Africa, and a Visiting Research Associate of the Institute of Education, University College London, UK.

    Heila Lotz-Sisitka holds a Chair of Environmental Education, and is also part time Director of Postgraduate Studies at Rhodes University, South Africa. She is editor of the Southern African Journal of Environmental Education. Her research interests include critical research, environmental learning and social transformation.