Text, Place and Mobility : Investigations of Outdoor Education, Ecocriticism and Environmental Meaning Making
Abstract: The overall ambition of this thesis is to investigate the approaches taken to environmental and sustainability education in outdoor education and ecocriticism in a Swedish and in an international context, to investigate environmental meaning making and to conduce to the development of analytical methods for empirical investigations of environmental meaning making. Four objectives are formulated. The first objective of the thesis is to analyse constitutive discursive rules and traits regarding environmental and sustainability education and environmental meaning making in outdoor education in a Swedish context and in ecocriticism. This is achieved through discourse analyses of central textbooks in outdoor education and of research and textbooks in ecocriticism.The second objective is to investigate how different situated circumstances such as, text, place, mobility, social situations and previous experiences interplay in environmental meaning making. This is achieved through analyses of classroom communication, through analysis of nature writing and through an analysis of painted landscapes.The third objective is to compare and critically discuss the constitutive discursive rules and traits within the two investigated educational practices – out door education and ecocriticism – in the light of the results from the investigations of environmental meaning making carried out.The fourth objective is to develop analytical methods based on John Dewey and Louise Rosenblatt’s theories of transaction and meaning making for conducting empirical investigations of environmental meaning making in which different interplaying situational circumstances are taken into account.The results of the thesis show that taking a transactional starting point to investigate environmental meaning making adds further understanding of the situational circumstances influencing environmental meaning making in specific situations which sheds new light to the identified approaches to environmental and sustainability education in outdoor education and ecocriticism. These results suggest that a transactional approach to environmental and sustainability education can help to clarify taken for granted assumptions regarding the nature of situational circumstances such as text, place and mobility in environmental meaning making.
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