1st Edition

Education for Sustainable Development in the ‘Capitalocene’

    The book seeks to explore ways in which education research, policy and practice ought to be re-thought and re-enacted under present bio-political predicaments. It brings together scholars working in the intersections of education for sustainable development, philosophy of education and curriculum theory who contribute original and radical analyses of education in an increasingly unpredictable and unintelligible world.

    According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), humanity is closer to irreversible tipping points that, once reached will lead to accelerating transformations that will drastically change life on earth during the coming decades. Responses from education studies to these precarious social-ecological conditions range from pointing out necessary ways forward for education grounded in human accountability, responsibility, justice, ethics, and care; to dark ecology-oriented interventions unnerving the very premises that education relies on. When education is deeply entangled with, and contributing to, a catastrophic global development, the idea of education as a nostalgic promise for a common good and a better future comes under scrutiny. This volume re-configures education as inextricable from other anthropogenic threats and natural forces that seem to become increasingly intertwined in joint production of our current predicament. It urges educational theorists, practitioners, and policymakers to engage with thinking, practicing, and revolutionizing educational futures.

    The chapters in this book were originally published in the journal Educational Philosophy and Theory.

    Introduction: Education for sustainable development in the ‘Capitalocene’

    Helena Pedersen, Sally Windsor, Beniamin Knutsson, Dawn Sanders, Arjen Wals, and Olof Franck

    1. Strange loops, oedipal logic, and an apophatic ecology: Reimagining critique in environmental education

    Antti Saari and John Mullen

    2. The Holocene Simulacrum

    Jason James Wallin 

    3. Education after the end of the world. How can education be viewed as a hyperobject?

    Nick Peim and Nicholas Stock

    4. Catastrophe or apocalypse? The anthropocenologist as pedagogue

    Chris Peers 

    5. From “education for sustainable development” to “education for the end of the world as we know it”

    Sharon Stein, Vanessa Andreotti, Rene Suša, Cash Ahenakew, and Tereza Čajková

    6. Spiritual education for a post-capitalist society

    R. Scott Webster

    7. Ilyenkov’s ideal: Can we bank on it?

    Mike Ward

    8. Education, sustainable or otherwise, as simulacra: A symphony of Baudrillard

    Chloe Humphreys, Sean Blenkinsop, and Bob Jickling


    Helena Pedersen is Associate Professor in Education at University of Gothenburg, Sweden. She is author of Schizoanalysis and Animal Science Education (2019) and Animals in Schools (2010). She is co-editor of the Critical Animal Studies book series and co-founder of University of Gothenburg’s Network for Critical Animal Studies in the Anthropocene (GU-CAS).

    Sally Windsor is Associate Professor at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, and teaches in the international Masters of Education for Sustainable Development and teacher education programmes. Her research interests include Indigenous knowledges and cultures for sustainability, school level sustainability education, geography teaching, arts-based pedagogies, professional conversations and practicum pedagogies.

    Beniamin Knutsson is Associate Professor in the Department of Pedagogical, Curricular and Professional Studies, University of Gothenburg, Sweden and a research associate of the Centre for Education Rights and Transformation, University of Johannesburg. His research is mainly concerned with issues pertaining to power and inequality in education for sustainable development.

    Dawn Sanders is Associate Professor in the Department of Pedagogical, Curricular and Professional Studies, University of Gothenburg, Sweden and an editor for the journal Plants, People, Planet. Her research considers questions concerning human interactions with the more-than-human world. She is a fellow of The Linnean Society of London.

    Arjen Wals is Professor of Transformative Learning for Socio-Ecological Sustainability at Wageningen University, Netherlands, where he also holds the UNESCO Chair of Social Learning and Sustainable Development. Furthermore, he is a Guest Professor at the Norwegian University for the Life Sciences (NMBU) and the Western Norway University of Applied Sciences. He holds an Honorary Doctorate from Gothenburg University in Sweden.

    Olof Franck is Professor in Subject Matter Education, specialising Social Studies subjects, and Associate Professor in Philosophy of religion at the Department of Pedagogical, Curricular and Professional Studies, University of Gothenburg, Sweden. His publications focus issues on ethics, social sustainability, religious education, and philosophy.