Advertisement

Cultural Studies of Science Education

, Volume 5, Issue 2, pp 373–381 | Cite as

Revitalization of the shared commons: education for sustainability and marginalized cultures

  • George E. Glasson
Forum

Abstract

Education for sustainability provides a vision for revitalizing the environmental commons while preserving cultural traditions and human rights. What happens if the environmental commons is shared by two politically disparate and conflicting cultures? As in many shared common lands, what happens if one culture is dominant and represents a more affluent society with more resources and educational opportunities? In the case of the Tal and Alkaher study (Cult Stud Sci Edu, 2009), asymmetric power differences between the dominant Israeli society and the minority Arab population yielded different environmental narratives and perceptions of students involved in learning about a mediated conflict in national park land. Similarly, marginalized indigenous cultures in Malawi, Africa share common lands with the dominant European landowners but have distinctly different environmental narratives. Although indigenous ways of living with nature contribute to the sustainability of the environment and culture, African funds of knowledge are conspicuously absent from the Eurocentric school science curriculum. In contrast, examples of experiential learning and recent curriculum development efforts in sustainability science in Malawi are inclusive of indigenous knowledge and practices and are essential for revitalizing the shared commons.

Keywords

Education for sustainability Revitalization of the commons Sustainability 

References

  1. Aikenhead, G. S. (2008). Objectivity: The opiate of the academic. Cultural Studies of Science Education, 3, 581–585.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bhabha, H. K. (1994). The location of culture. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  3. Bowers, C. (2007a). Introducing ecojustice and the revitalization of the commons issues into thinking about environmental education. In D. Zandvliet & D. Fisher (Eds.), Sustainable communities, sustainable environments: The contributions of science and technology education (pp. 47–60). Rotterdam: Sense Publishers.Google Scholar
  4. Bowers, C. (2007b). Critical essays on the enclosure of the cultural commons: The conceptual foundations of today’s mis-education. Digital Library of the Commons. Retrieved Jul 11, 2009, from http://dlc.dlib.indiana.edu/archive/00004691.
  5. Carter, L. (2007). Sociocultural influences on science education: Innovation for contemporary times. Science Education, 92, 165–181.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Chatini, J., Obeidi, F., Adwan, S., & Bar-On, D. (2002). Palestinian and Israeli cooperation in environmental work during the ‘‘peace era’’. Peace and Conflict Studies, 9(6), 4–94.Google Scholar
  7. Dlodlo, T. S. (1999). Science nomenclature in Africa: Physics in Nguni. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 36, 321–331.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Glasson, G. E., Evans, M., & Phiri, A. (April, 2008). Connecting community elders and schools in Malawi using mobile phones and web 2.0 technologies. In Proceedings of the annual international meeting of the National Association for Research in Science Teaching, Baltimore, MD.Google Scholar
  9. Glasson, G. E., Frykholm, J., Mhango, N., & Phiri, A. (2006). Understanding the earth systems of Malawi: Ecological sustainability, culture, and place-based education. Science Education, 90, 660–680.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Glasson, G. E., Mhango, N., Phiri, A., & Lanier, M. (2009). Sustainability science education in Africa: Negotiating indigenous ways of living with nature in the third space. International Journal of Science Education. doi: 10.1080/09500690902981269.
  11. Gonzalez, N., Moll, L. C., & Amanti, C. (2005). Introduction: Theorizing practices. In N. Gonzalez, L. C. Moll, & C. Amanti (Eds.), Funds of knowledge: Theorizing practices in household, communities, and classrooms (pp. 1–24). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Publishers.Google Scholar
  12. Gough, A., & Gough, N. (2004). Environmental education research in southern Africa: Dilemmas of interpretation. Environmental Education Research, 10, 409–424.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Gruenewald, D. A. (2003). The best of both worlds: A critical pedagogy of place. Educational Researcher, 32(4), 3–12.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. McKinley, E. (2005). Locating the global: Culture, language and science education for indigenous students. International Journal of Science Education, 27, 227–241.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Tal, T., & Alkaher, I. (2009). Collaborative environmental projects in a multicultural society: working from within separate or mutual landscapes? Cultural Studies of Science Education. doi: 10.1007/s11422-009-9202-9.
  16. Thompson, N. (2003). Science education researchers as orthographers: Documenting Keiyo (Kenya) knowledge, learning and narratives about snakes. International Journal of Science Education, 25, 89–115.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. UNESCO. (2005). Links between the global initiatives in education—UN decade of education for sustainable development (Education for Sustainable Development in Action Tech. Paper No. 1). Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved Feb 6, 2009, from http://portal.unesco.org/education/en/ev.php-URL_ID=42271&URL_DO=DO_TOPIC&URL_SECTION=201.html.

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Education, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State UniversityBlacksburgUSA

Personalised recommendations