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Becoming-crocus, becoming-river, becoming-bear: A relational materialist exploration of place(s)

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Abstract

The article draws on qualitative research from reflective journals of a group of university students based on their experiences from a month-long outdoor and environmental education journey in the Canadian Rockies. The article is concerned with the stories that are communicated through an embodied engagement with place(s), particularly the Brazeau River and the surrounding regions. The “relational materialist” approach (Hultman & Lenz Taguchi, 2010), combined with a focus on the entangled topics of skill, place, and journey provides a framework for empirical materials collection and analysis. Findings suggest that a decentring of humans in favour of mutual and relational engagements with matter and the more-than-human, in combination with place-stories and outdoor skill development that involves reading the land from embodied learning with/in its natural∼cultural history, opens up new possibilities for embodied relations to place(s).

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Correspondence to Jonas Mikaels.

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Jonas Mikaels is a lecturer at The Swedish School of Sport and Health Sciences (GIH). His research interests include examining outdoor learning from place-responsive perspectives. He is currently completing a doctorate which explores teachers’ considerations or place.

Morten Asfeldt is an Associate Professor of Physical Education (Outdoor Education) and has led educational expeditions for over 25 years. His research interests include place-conscious pedagogy leadership development, storytelling, and the history of his expedition routes. He is the co-editor of Pike’s Portage: Stories of a Distinguished Place (Dundurn, 2010).

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Mikaels, J., Asfeldt, M. Becoming-crocus, becoming-river, becoming-bear: A relational materialist exploration of place(s). Journal of Outdoor and Environmental Education 20, 2–13 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF03401009

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