The place of education in the anthropology of nature, society and development
(University of Oxford)
Paper short abstract:
This paper explores the ways in which agroecological projects differ from traditional and indigenous pedagogies and contest mainstream education. It concludes with a discussion of how these findings may help us gain new insights about the interaction between anthropology and interdisicplinarity.
Paper long abstract:
Global challenges are best understood as aspirational goals facilitating a shift in societal values. Sustainability debates arise from a desire to develop economic activities that enhance the wellbeing of people while ensuring the maintenance of integrated social and ecological systems. While promoting novel approaches to human development, capabilities and happiness, sustainability debates also encourage new thinking about the role of education beyond its framing as a capability, a citizen right, or a public good. On-going fieldwork with Latin American agroecology movements provides many insights into the practical knowledge and the values imparted through agroecological learning and teaching. Some of the reasons why many agroecology projects are based on radical pedagogies offering alternatives to mainstream education are examined. I focus more particularly on two specific issues, the nature of 'work' and the characteristics of 'organisation.' I then compare and contrast the pedagogical approaches used in agroecological movements with the more implicit native Amazonian pedagogies that a range of anthropologists and educationalists have been studying over the last two decades. The patterning of commonality and difference between these two bodies of what I call 'vernacular knowledge' has significant implications for the anthropological understanding of cultural knowledge transmission. Such patterning has in turn various implications for understanding dynamic interactions between anthropology and interdisicplinarity.
Entangled engagements: anthropology's holistic approach to the Global Challenges