The action-competent child : producing differences through good intentions

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The action-competent child : producing differences through good intentions

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Title The action-competent child : producing differences through good intentions
Author(s) Ideland, Malin
Date 2015
English abstract
Environmental problems have been on the agenda since the 1960s, calling for political and individual change. In the field of environmental education, different practices have grown with a purpose to “save the planet”. This paper explores how difference is produced through the styles of reasoning about inclusion and empowerment in one specific pedagogical practice inside this field: teaching for action competence. This practice characterizes itself as a non-normative environmental education. However, this paper unpacks this pedagogical notion and how it — through good intentions to empower children — contributes to exclusion through a cultural protocol for how to act and feel in order to be an environmentally friendly person. The aim is to show how action competence culturally shapes desirable and undesirable subjects; the child we entrust the future and the child at risk (for the world). Theoretically, the article takes off from governmentality; how the notion of action competence inscribes what is to be acted on, experienced, and felt. The analysis focuses how practices and emotions are cultivated and what kinds of subjects that are made up as action-competent. The results illuminate an action-competent child as participating genuinely and producing such feelings as empowerment and optimism. But s/he is also well-planned and reasonable. This means that the abject Other, the one in need of changing his/her way of living, is the powerless and spontaneous subject – the childish child. But the discourse also (re)produce social patterns in terms of race and social class, through attention to emotions. The analysis conceptualizes the valuation of emotions as an affect economy, organized by whiteness, “middle-class-ness” and academicness – excluding subjectivities outside this norm.
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Publisher EERA
Host/Issue ECER 2015 : Online Programme
Language eng (iso)
Subject(s) systems of reason
history of the present
Education for sustainable development
environmental education
action competence
Humanities/Social Sciences
Research Subject Categories::SOCIAL SCIENCES
Note ECER (European Conference on Educational Research) 2015 : Education and transition : contributions from educational research, 7-11 September, Corvinus University, Budapest, Hungary
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