In Place(s): Dwelling on Culture, Materiality, and Affect

Reference work entry
Part of the Springer International Handbooks of Education book series (SIHE)


(How) do places affect us? This chapter will explore how place is experienced by children, referencing empirical studies that reflect several forms of outdoor learning, both curricular and outside the classroom. Outdoor learning is undergoing a renaissance of interest and is widely seen as an effective means of connecting children to the natural world (Louv. Last child in the woods. Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, New York, 2010). This common conceptualization will be challenged by recognizing the child within nature. In examining the question of the effect of places on young people (and vice versa), the paper will employ theories of cultural density (Waite. Cam J Edu 43(4):413–433, 2013; Waite. Culture clash and concord: supporting early learning outdoors in the UK. In: Prince H, Henderson K, Humberstone B (eds) International handbook of outdoor studies. Routledge, London, 2015) and cultureplace (Quay. Stud Philos Edu 36:463–476, 2017) in relation to how culture informs place and pedagogies within them. It will argue that the more-than-human world shapes possibilities for interaction but that these are mediated by individual, structural, and cultural influences, both acknowledged and tacit, in the enactment of outdoor learning within and across countries (Malone, Waite. Student outcomes and natural schooling: pathways from evidence to impact report. Plymouth University, Plymouth, 2016).

Interweaving multidisciplinary perspectives, the chapter considers implications for practice and suggests that feelings and affect may act as intrapersonal organizers of this complex interplay of cultural and material influences. It will argue that in rejecting human dominion over nature, place as “personal” is nonetheless a key contributor to the power of outdoor learning to transform lives.


Culture Place Affect Materiality Cultureplace Cultural density Outdoor learning 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Plymouth Institute of Education, Plymouth UniversityDevonUK
  2. 2.Melbourne Graduate School of EducationUniversity of MelbourneMelbourneAustralia

Section editors and affiliations

  • Karen Malone
    • 1
  • Iris Duhn
    • 2
  • Marek Tesar
    • 3
  1. 1.Centre for Educational ResearchWestern Sydney UniversitySydneyAustralia
  2. 2.Faculty of Education, Peninsula CampusMonash UniversityMelbourneAustralia
  3. 3.University of AucklandAucklandNew Zealand

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