Flowers of Resistance: Citizen science, ecological democracy and the transgressive education paradigm

A.E.J. Wals, Michael A. Peters

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review


When democracy can be hijacked, power corrupts and capitalism penetrates deeply into society, including into our schools, what prospects still exist for education for a more sustainable world? Democracy is painfully slow and open to manipulation: the question must be asked whether it is up to the task in the new global environment where action is through agreement of interest-based states. And yet in a post-truth world there are important issues that yoke science as empirical truth with democracy that we might christen ecological democracy which provides the warrant and justification for civil action, and demonstrates the new power of citizen science groups that can act autonomously in the interest of their local communities. In this paper, which is a short version of a more comprehensive chapter published in a book edited by Ariane König, titled “Sustainability Science: Key Issues” published by Routledge[1], we seek comfort, inspiration and support from emerging forms of ecological democracy, civic science and transgressive education. The latter invites conflict and disruption as mechanisms to break with stubborn, unsustainable routines, that encourage people to leave their comfort zone. The resulting discomfort can be generative when it invites people to explore other options, to build new alliances or to re-think what they always thought to be normal or true. Learning on the edge of one’s comfort zones amidst a plurality of ideas, can help us interrogate and rethink the way we frame – or are made to frame – our experiences, as well as our cultural narratives and associated encultured and embodied ontological pre-dispositions.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSustainability Science:
Subtitle of host publicationKey Issues
EditorsAriane König, Jerome Ravetz
ISBN (Electronic)9781315620329
ISBN (Print)9781138659285, 9781138659278
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Publication series

NameKey Issues in Environment and Sustainability


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