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Critiques of Western Modernity in Environmental and Sustainability Education and Global Citizenship Education: a research review

Palmeiro Neves Fonseca da Costa, Marta ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-8083-2787 (2021) Critiques of Western Modernity in Environmental and Sustainability Education and Global Citizenship Education: a research review. Research Report. Örebro University.

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Abstract

In the current context of multiple global crises, Education for Sustainable Development and Global Citizenship Education (GCE) are put at the centre of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. Understanding with Mignolo (2011) that the global challenges we presently face are rooted in the dark side of Western modernity (coloniality), this research aimed to explore the ways in which Environmental and Sustainability Education (ESE) and GCE target, critique, and possibly delink from the modern/colonial imaginary framing them. With an emphasis on secondary education, the review identified 45 journal articles (23 theoretical and 21 empirical) that critically engaged with Western modernity; and mapped them onto Andreotti and colleagues’ (2015) social cartography General Responses to Modernity’s Violence. Both theoretical and empirical literature showed that ESE and GCE are still framed by Western narratives that marginalise, and/or assimilate non- Western knowledges and ontologies; and identify a range of responses that span across ontological, epistemological and methodological considerations. The present report takes stock of critiques and responses to Western modernity in ESE and GCE, discussing the possibilities and limitations afforded by their place of enunciation, and it makes suggestions for future research and practice in the fields.

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