Main content area

Transformative, transgressive social learning: rethinking higher education pedagogy in times of systemic global dysfunction

Lotz-Sisitka, Heila, Wals, Arjen EJ, Kronlid, David, McGarry, Dylan
Current opinion in environmental sustainability 2015 v.16 pp. 73-80
collective action, higher education, learning, students, sustainability science and engineering, uncertainty
The nature of the sustainability challenges currently at hand is such that dominant pedagogies and forms of learning that characterize higher education need to be reconsidered to enable students and staff to deal with accelerating change, increasing complexity, contested knowledge claims and inevitable uncertainty. In this contribution we identified four streams of emerging transformative, transgressive learning research and praxis in the sustainability sciences that appear generative of a higher education pedagogy that appears more responsive to the key challenges of our time: (1) reflexive social learning and capabilities theory, (2) critical phenomenology, (3) socio-cultural and cultural historical activity theory, and (4) new social movement, postcolonial and decolonisation theory. The paper critiques the current tendency in sustainability science and learning to rely on resilience and adaptive capacity building and argues that in order to break with maladaptive resilience of unsustainable systems it is essential to strengthen transgressive learning and disruptive capacity-building.