Higher education and the Anthropocene - Towards an ecological approach to higher education policy in New Zealand
Stratford, R. J. (2019). Higher education and the Anthropocene - Towards an ecological approach to higher education policy in New Zealand (Thesis, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)). The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/12369
Permanent Research Commons link: https://hdl.handle.net/10289/12369
In this thesis I present an ecological direction for higher education policy in Aotearoa/New Zealand. This position is developed through an ecological approach to policy, which includes a postfoundational take on ecological theory, especially the work of Gregory Bateson and Felix Guattari. This ecological approach to higher education policy is in contrast to the neoliberal and technicist policy thinking which has informed New Zealand’s Tertiary Education Strategy (Ministry of Education, 2014c). As a contrast, the ecological approach in this thesis draws strength from ecological economics, environmental politics, critical policy analysis, ecological theory and philosophical pragmatism. The methodological core of this approach is described as Critical Eco Pragmatism (CEP). Following a discussion of ecological theory and an exploration of the Global Ecological Crisis (GEC) as an interconnected problem of natural, political, social, psychological, pedagogical and epistemological dimensions, I develop a theoretical framework for being ecological in higher education. This framework draws on a critique of Ron Barnett’s work on the ecological university (Barnett, 2010, 2018) and introduces the notion of ‘Anthropocene Intelligence’. Anthropocene Intelligence provides a way to pragmatically bring together a range of theoretical ideas about education – especially those ideas that have a claim on improving our psychological, social and natural ecologies. This includes educational discourses that have not always had a high level of interaction, such as environmental and sustainability education (ESE), indigenous education, eco-pedagogy, engaged scholarship, ecological humanities, human development education, and education for wellbeing (including the healthy university). The potential of an ecological approach is also considered in relation to the many practical possibilities that currently exist in higher education policy and practice both internationally and in New Zealand. Together with the theoretical approach taken in this thesis, these practical possibilities inform the alternative, ecological direction this thesis develops for higher education policy in New Zealand. Included in this ecological direction is the aspiration for New Zealand to develop as an ‘ecological democracy’ (Dryzek, 2013).
The University of Waikato
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