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ABS173 - Co-creating transformative activity in the anthropocene: Re-framing processes in expansive learning

3.4 Transformative agency
4:30 PM, Tuesday 29 Aug 2017 (20 minutes)
The Anthropocene ushers in new conditions for the continued flourishing of all life forms, including human life as we currently know it. We urgently need forms of activity that have the power to address pernicious contradictions arising at the people-planet-profit nexus meaningfully. Despite vast and sophisticated bodies of knowledge of the crises and risks associated with these contradictions, it remains inordinately difficult for people to learn together to co-create transformative activity oriented towards sustainability and the common good. This paper critically explores formative intervention led expansive learning research processes as developed in CHAT by Yrjö Engeström (1987 - 2016) and colleagues for addressing this problem. The paper is constituted as a meta-analysis of sixteen in-depth expansive learning case studies undertaken in a diversity of contexts in six southern African countries (Zimbabwe, South Africa, Malawi, Lesotho, Mozambique, Swaziland) where people are seeking to escape the impacts of modern institutional exclusions, and build more sustainable, socially just communities and livelihoods oriented to the common good. The meta-analysis shows how transforming complex objects of activity via expansive learning in these contexts involves the following reframing processes:1) complex and multi-layered navigations of deep-seated power relations, 2) ethics deliberations, 3) unearthing and mediating dimensions of cognitive and epistemic justice, and 4) engaging the decolonizing dialectic of absence and emergence. These reframing processes appear to be critical for the emergence of emancipatory forms of transformative agency and are proposed as important new themes for CHAT formative intervention research in the Anthropocene era.
Rhodes University, Environmental Learning Research Centre
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