A snowball in hell? : ecological education in a postmodern age

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Robert Gant Hewett (Creator)
Institution
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site: http://library.uncg.edu/
Advisor
Glenn Hudak

Abstract: "Awareness of the ecological crisis has undeniably increased during the past three or four decades. Nevertheless, despite some local and regional improvements, the global crisis has worsened over this period. This paradoxical situation of pervasive awareness of environmental problems and predominantly cosmetic, ineffectual responses to them is attributable, at least in part, to the social and cultural conditions associated with postmodernity. This study is a theoretical investigation of the social and cultural context of the ecological crisis. It involves an exploration of three interrelated narratives that have become dominant in postmodernity--the end of history myth, neoliberalism, and the rhetoric of economic globalization--and demonstrates how each contributes to ongoing social and environmental degradation. This study also shows how these postmodern narratives inform the prevailing assumption that the primary purpose of education and the proper function of schools (especially the public schools) is to promote economic competitiveness in the new global economy. But if the new global economy is accelerating the pace of environmental destruction, and if much of the instruction that goes on in schools in the United States seeks to develop in students the skills needed to compete more effectively in this new economy, then it is not entirely hyperbolic to suggest that academic success in school amounts to ecological failure. The daily practices of schools reflect and reinforce the dominant values of the larger culture; hence, formal education, as it is currently configured, will likely do little to ameliorate the ecological crisis. Given the strict, top-down organization and management of public schools, it is unreasonable to expect schools to initiate substantive changes supportive of ecological sustainability. This will require major changes in education policy."--Abstract from author supplied metadata.

Additional Information

Publication
Dissertation
Language: English
Date: 2007
Keywords
ecological, global, crisis, environmental, postmodernity, neoliberalism, globalization
Subjects
Environmental education--United States
Education--United States
Environmentalism