Acknowledging the agency of a more-than-human world: material relations on a Snowy River journey
In this article we describe our attempt to challenge our anthropocentric gaze during an outdoor environmental education (OEE) research project involving a 10-day journey with high school students on the Snowy River in south-eastern Australia. Although much contemporary OEE research explores place responsive methodologies that provide possibilities for expanding beyond human centered practices, such movements can be difficult to make. We attempt, through this project, to shift our gaze away from a human-centered viewpoint to understand ways in which new perspectives of journeys, place(s) and learning might be available. To do this we adopt a posthuman/relational materialist approach to explore how the material world is creative of places, people and learning opportunities beyond human centered ways of seeing. We argue for a focus on the more-than-human aspects of places and engage posthuman concepts that allow us to challenge traditional ways of researching. In doing so we seek to uncover and acknowledge the agency of the more-than-human world, and how material places and their elements are valuable in the creation of emergent learning possibilities on an OEE journey. Rather than exact findings, this article is an exploratory journey of thinking OEE in different ways, to explore new opportunities for place and context responsive learning and environmental understanding.
KeywordsJourney Relational materialism Rhizome Assemblages Posthuman Intra-action
We would like to acknowledge the valuable constructive feedback provided by the reviewers and the Editor, John Quay, in helping improve the clarity and quality of this article. We would also like to the thank the students from the Snowy River journey for their input into this research project.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.
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