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The Language of Longing: Rationality, Morality, and Experience in Education for Sustainability


Davison, AG, The Language of Longing: Rationality, Morality, and Experience in Education for Sustainability, Rethinking Work and Learning: Adult and Vocational Education for Social Sustainability, Springer, P Willis, S McKenzie, R Harris (ed), Dordrecht, pp. 63-79. ISBN 978-1-4020-8963-3 (2009) [Research Book Chapter]

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Copyright 2009 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.

DOI: doi:10.1007/978-1-4020-8964-0


The idea of sustainability has become indispensable to a wide and growing array of discourses about positive social futures. Yet this idea is essentially contested and inherently ambivalent. Especially unclear is the relationship between facts and values in narratives of sustainability. Presented as the handmaiden of sustainability since its first steps on the international stage, education has been delegated the task of clarifying this relationship and of aligning ethical aspirations and pragmatic objectives. Emerging agendas of education for sustainable development, in particular, have presented sustainability as a predetermined theoretical end to be reached through the use of neutral practical means. Such instrumentalist agendas have shown little interest in the modern history of education for unsustainability. In contrast, in this chapter I recast education for sustainability as an agenda for the reinvigoration of skills of practical moral reasoning. Such reasoning understands the relationship between ends and means dialectically and sheds light on the interaction of unsustainable realities and sustainable ideals. I suggest that the educational values of sustainability talk lies in its ability to bring education itself into question. and I explore how education for sustainability can better accommodate difference, uncertainty, and ambiguity.

Item Details

Item Type:Research Book Chapter
Keywords:education, sustainability, sustainable development
Research Division:Human Society
Research Group:Human geography
Research Field:Human geography not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Education and Training
Objective Group:Other education and training
Objective Field:Other education and training not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Davison, AG (Associate Professor Aidan Davison)
ID Code:57217
Year Published:2009
Deposited By:Geography and Environmental Studies
Deposited On:2009-06-26
Last Modified:2014-12-11
Downloads:2 View Download Statistics

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