A Feminist Poststructural Approach to Environmental Education Research

Authored by: Bronwyn Davies

International Handbook of Research on Environmental Education

Print publication date:  December  2012
Online publication date:  May  2013

Print ISBN: 9780415892384
eBook ISBN: 9780203813331
Adobe ISBN: 9781136699313


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When we approach environmental education from a feminist poststructural perspective, what conceptual and methodological spaces are opened up for research? The first conceptual and methodological space might be described as one in which the binary separation between the one who researches and the object of research is deconstructed. Environmental education is not understood, then, to exist prior to and independent of the research, but to be itself opened up by the gaze of the researcher. The second space is one which opens the researcher to being changed through the research. In this second space, Helene Cixous, a feminist poststructuralist writer, reflecting in conversation with Mireille Calle-Gruber, asks why do we live? Her answer is: I think: to become more human: more capable of reading the world, more capable of playing it in all ways. This does not mean nicer or more humanistic. I would say: more faithful to what we are made from and to what we can create (Cixous & Calle-Gruber, 1997, p. 30). What I hope to show in this chapter is that this position, that we live in order to be able to create, and that we can do so by developing our skills in reading the world, in approaching the world from multiple points of view, and by paying greater attention to the specificity of our material bodies, is of central importance in feminist poststructural research into environmental education.

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