Challenging Speciesism: Youth Repositioning of Identities as Ethical Adults

Chapter
Part of the Cultural Studies of Science Education book series (CSSE, volume 16)

Abstract

In this chapter I explore how science education has promoted dominant ideologies that commodify and transform other animals into economic objects. I discuss why education should offer spaces to re–construct and transform youth identities into more ethical and critical ones. Speciesism ideology, described as the validation of the different forms of human domination over other animals, is reinforced by nearly every array of social practices and institutions, including political economies based on exploitative capitalism and industrial technics. It provides a platform for the legitimatization not only of the brutal and unethical utilization and subjugation of nonhuman animals, but also of an unsustainable lifestyle. Moreover, school curricula often fail to provide spaces for the construction of identities that challenge the exploitative nature of our current relationship with other animals. To counteract this, education needs to be re–thought. It needs to provide platforms and pedagogical practices that problematize the domination, oppression and subordination of other animals. Particularly, those disciplines that deal with knowledge regarding animals, such as science and environmental education, need to adopt a total liberation pedagogy, one that works against all forms of oppression, including nonhuman animals. This chapter contributes to the understanding of youth formation of identities as consumers of nature, and how education could be radicalized to integrate themes of animal’s rights, environmental justice and anti–consumerism.

Keywords

Marginalization Speciecism Critical pedagogy Animals Identity 

References

  1. Carter, L., Castano Rodriguez, C., & Jones, M. (2014). Transformative learning in science education: Investigating pedagogy for action. In J. L. Bencze & S. Alsop (Eds.), Activist science and technology education (pp. 531–545). Dordrecht: Springer. doi: 10.1007/978–94–007–4360–1.
  2. Castano Rodriguez, C. (2015). Which values regarding nature and other species are we promoting in the Australian science curriculum? Cultural Studies of Science Education, 11(4), 1–23. doi: 10.1007/s11422–015–9675–7.
  3. Chinn, P. W. U., & Hana‘ike, D. D. M. I. (2010). A case study of David, a native Hawaiian science teacher: Cultural historical activity theory and implications for teacher education. In J. D. Tippins, P. M. Mueller, M. van Eijck, & D. J. Adams (Eds.), Cultural studies and environmentalism: The confluence of EcoJustice, place–based (science) education, and indigenous knowledge systems (pp. 229–246). Dordrecht: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Freire, P. (2004). Pedagogy of indignation. Boulder: Paradigm.Google Scholar
  5. Freire, P. (1970). Pedagogy of the oppressed. New York: Continuum.Google Scholar
  6. Freire, P. (1974). Education for critical consciousness. London: Sheed and Ward Ltd..Google Scholar
  7. Giroux, H. (1988). Schooling and the struggle for public life: Critical pedagogy in the modern age. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
  8. Giroux, H. (2001). Theory and resistance in education: Towards a pedagogy of opposition. Westport: Bergin and Garvey.Google Scholar
  9. Greene, M. (1988). The dialectic of freedom. New York: Teachers Colleague Press.Google Scholar
  10. Hoben, J. (2015). Learning what you cannot say: Teaching free speech and political literacy in an authoritarian age. New York: Peter Lang.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Joy, M. (2008). Strategic action for animals: A handbook on strategic movement building, organizing, and activism for animal liberation. New York: Lantern Press.Google Scholar
  12. Kahn, R. (2008). Introduction. Green Theory and Praxis: The Journal of Ecopedagogy, 4, i–iv.Google Scholar
  13. Kahn, R. (2010). Critical pedagogy, ecoliteracy, & planetary crisis: The ecopedagogy movement. New York: Peter Lang.Google Scholar
  14. Kahn, R., & Humes, B. (2009). Marching out from the Ultima Thule: Critical counterstories of emancipatory educators working at the intersection on human rights, animal rights, and planetary sustainability. Canadian Journal of Environmental Education, 14(1), 179–195.Google Scholar
  15. Kitchenham, A. (2008). The evolution of Jon Mezirow’s transformative learning theory. Journal of Transformative Education, 6(2), 104–123. doi: 10.1177/1541344608322678.
  16. Leont’ev, A. N. (1981). The problem of activity in psychology. In J. Wertsch (Ed.), The concept of activity in Soviet psychology (pp. 37–71). Armonk: Sharpe.Google Scholar
  17. Mezirow, J. (2000). Learning as transformation: Critical perspectives on a theory in progress. San Fransisco: Jossey Bass.Google Scholar
  18. Mezirow, J. (2003). Transformative learning as discourse. Journal of Transformative Education, 1(1), 58–63. doi: 10.1177/1541344603252172.
  19. Nibert, D. (2003). Humans and other animals: sociology’s moral and intellectual challenge. International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, 23(3), 4–25. doi: 10.1108/01443330310790237.
  20. Noddings, N. (2003). Happiness and education. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. doi: 10.1017/cbo9780511499920.
  21. Noddings, N. (2013). Caring: A relational approach to ethics and moral education (2nd ed.). Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  22. Pedersen, H. (2010). Animals in schools: Processes and strategies in human–animal education. West Lafayette: Purdue University Press.Google Scholar
  23. Potter, W. (2014, May 1). Australia risks copying US 'ag–gag' laws to turn animal activists into terrorists. The Sydney Morning Herald, Retrieved from http://www.smh.com.au/environment/animals/australia–risks–copying–us–aggag–laws–to–turn–animal–activists–into–terrorists–20140501–37k8i.html#ixzz4CHBEL6h8
  24. Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals –RSPCA. (2014). Discussion paper: Ag–gag laws in Australia? [press release]. Retrieved from https://www.rspca.org.au/sites/default/files/website/media–centre/Press–releases/RSPCA_Australia–Ag_gag_laws_in_Australia–Discussion_paper.pdf
  25. Ryder, R. D. (2010). Speciesism again: The original leaflet. Critical Society, 2, 1–2.Google Scholar
  26. Sandlin, J. A., Kahn, R., Darts, D., & Tavin, K. (2009). To find the cost of freedom: Theorizing and practicing a critical pedagogy of consumption. Journal for Critical Education Policy Studies, 7(2), 98–125.Google Scholar
  27. Singer, P., & Mason, J. (2007). The ethics of what we eat: Why our food choices matter. Emaus: Rodale.Google Scholar
  28. Sleeter, C. (2008). Equity, democracy, and neoliberal assaults on teacher education. Teaching and Teacher Education, 24(8), 1947–1957. doi: 10.1016/j.tate.2008.04.003.
  29. Stetsenko, A., & Arievitch, I. (2004). The self in cultural–historical activity theory: Reclaiming the unity of social and individual dimensions of human development. Theory & Psychology, 14, 475–503. doi: 10.1177/0959354304044921.
  30. United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). (2010a). Assessing the environmental impacts of consumption and production: Priority products and materials. A report of the working group on the environmental impacts of products and materials to the international panel for sustainable resource management. Hertwich, E., van der Voet, E., Suh, S., Tukker, A., Huijbregts M., Kazmierczyk, P., Lenzen, M., McNeely, J., Moriguchi, Y. ISBN: 978–92–807–3084–5. Retrieved from: http://www.unep.org/resourcepanel/documents/pdf/PriorityProductsAndMaterials_Report_Full.pdf. doi: 10.1017/s207863361000113x
  31. United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). (2010b). Energy and agriculture top resource panel's priority list for sustainable 21st century [Pres release]. Retrieved from http://www.unep.org/climatechange/News/PressRelease/tabid/416/language/en–US/Default.aspx?DocumentId=628&ArticleId=6595
  32. Voiceless (2014, April 28). Ag–gag laws–issues briefing [press release]. Retrieved from https://www.voiceless.org.au/sites/default/files/Ag–gag%20FINAL.pdf

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Australian Catholic UniversityMelbourneAustralia

Personalised recommendations