ERIC Number: EJ1046044
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 62
Deweyan Education and Democratic Ecologies
Affifi, Ramsey R.
Educational Studies: Journal of the American Educational Studies Association, v50 n6 p573-597 2014
From a Deweyan perspective, the capacity to learn is enabled or restricted by the clutch of one's habits, which are established and maintained by the mutual eliciting of action and reaction between an organism and its environment. Relationships that constrict the capacity for organisms to interact and learn from each other are undemocratic so far as they curb the direction and suppleness by which mutual growth can occur. Dewey saw that education and democracy were therefore inseparable pursuits. However, he developed a conceptual orientation that prevented entry for other species. This article seeks to open a Deweyan approach to considering ecological communities politically and pedagogically. Ecosystems, like human societies, form and develop through complex learning interactions. This has been recognized for centuries by local and indigenous groups, and more recently by modern science in differently operating biological processes, from the Baldwin effect, to niche constructionism, and epigenetic inheritance. As Dewey continuously noted, the immediate encounter is a necessary but not a sufficient condition to ensure growthful, democratic environments, because patterns of behavior, thinking, and affect are channeled by the structural contexts within which encounters occur. It is therefore necessary that educators focus on the experimental reconstruction of infrastructure, buildings, institutions, technologies, and other material structures that habituate us to normalize miseducative and undemocratic relationships with our own and with other species.
Descriptors: Educational Theories, Ecology, Democracy, Indigenous Knowledge, Social Systems, Environmental Education, Social Theories, Role of Education
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A