Constructing stories of committed educational research and environmental education practice in the post prefixed analytic moment

Firth, R., 2001. Constructing stories of committed educational research and environmental education practice in the post prefixed analytic moment. PhD, Nottingham Trent University.

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As a researcher/educator [here termed, analytic worker] committed to the establishment and maintenance of a more healthy environment for all I am concerned in this case study of a collaborative action inquiry to contribute to the reflexive reconceptualisation of ways of engaging with the socio-ecological crisis.

The notion of a socio-ecological crisis draws our attention to the need to reflect on modernity, its ideals and the ways in which we attempt to realise them (Beck, 1992). The context of a more reflexive modernity and risk society is a useful starting point from which to begin to consider recent controversies about the status of scientific knowledge, social constructionism, nature and the role of education. This debate is revisited via a mobilisation of Stuart Hall's theorisation of articulation (reflexivity) and a connection to narrative and storytelling methodologies.

The research/inquiry has a committed and reflexive orientation and seeks to question or re-search with schoolteachers [eventually one schoolteacher: Suzanne] common conceptualisations of (i) 'good pedagogy' in environmental education and (ii) the enactment and encoding of educational research. The research starts for the initiator/facilitator from the position that post-prefixed discourses have, in the process of profoundly problematising what analytic work looks like, opened up new spaces in which an examination of educational knowledge production can be located. The research explores some of the problems and possibilities which emerge for particular forms of truth-telling and knowledge production under these conditions.

Within, alongside and beyond the collaborative work with teachers, the research took on another trajectory or form of expression that was labelled my own research project. While the focus of the research remained the same (that is (i) and (ii) above) the research became more self-referential. As a research initiator/facilitator and collaborator I became more concerned to further analyse my own role as a committed researcher concerned to tell particular truths about 'good pedagogy' in environmental education and the enactment and encoding of educational research. These two stories [in terms of both collaborative work with teachers/Suzanne and my own research project] are portrayed/disclosed in the pages of the text.

The collaborative research foregrounds aspects of the environment-related educational practice of Suzanne through her own narratives, and locates this educational practice within a wider discursive space of pedagogical and curriculum developments within environmental education. Here, the concern is with giving the right place to description (Wittgenstein, 1958 27e), which in turn can provide a place for the understanding of [environment-related] educational practice and educational research that I construct in this text [my own research project], and is the task of what I call non-representational 'theory' (Thrift, 1996) or relational thinking (Massey, Allen and Sarre, 1999). Such 'theory' is an attempt to reimagine the either/or constructions of binary thinking, and to recognise the important elements of association or interconnection which go into the construction of any identity and form of educational/research practice.

Thinking in terms of relations is employed and examined in this text in terms of the Enlightenment antinomy between 'nature' and 'society'/'culture', which marks a pervasive tension in the institutional configuration of scientific knowledge, including that of geography and environmental education. The aim is to find within social constructionism a conceptual space for 'nature' for the 'nonhuman', as a way of reflexively reconceptualising analytic work and educational engagement with the socio-ecological crisis. While philosophical scholarship and empirical research are frequently presented as discrete activities, the position adopted here is that both are essential to a project such as developing theories of environment-related pedagogical practice.

Item Type: Thesis
Creators: Firth, R.
Date: 2001
ISBN: 9781369314632
Divisions: Schools > School of Education
Record created by: Linda Sullivan
Date Added: 21 Sep 2020 14:24
Last Modified: 28 Jul 2023 13:45

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