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Reflecting on Education for Sustainable Development through Two Lenses: Ability Studies and Disability Studies
Faculty of Medicine, Department Community Health Sciences, Community Rehabilitation and Disability Studies, University of Calgary, 3330 Hospital Drive NW, Calgary, AL T2N 4N1, Canada
Department of Sociology, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON M5S 2J4, Canada
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 24 April 2013; in revised form: 6 May 2013 / Accepted: 15 May 2013 / Published: 24 May 2013
Abstract: The call for papers asked to cast “a critical eye on the practice and purpose of sustainability-focused education, and its successes and failures, thus far”. We approach this task in this paper through two lenses that have not yet been very visible in the education for sustainable development (ESD) discourse. One is the lens of disability studies which is the inquiry around the lived reality of disabled people; the other is the lens of ability studies which among others investigates (a) which abilities are seen as essential in a given context; (b) the dynamic of how an ability expectation consensus is reached, if it is reached and (c) the impact of ability expectations. We conclude that (a) no consensus has been reached within ESD discourses as to the process of how to identify essential abilities and as to a list of abilities seen as important and (b) that disabled people are invisible in the formal and informal ESD discourse. We expect the paper to be of interest to disabled people, ESD scholars, teachers of ESD in different educational settings, students of ESD training, NGOs involved in ESD as well as policy makers involved in ESD.
Keywords: ableism; ability expectation; ability studies; disability studies; disabled people; people with disabilities; education for sustainable development; sustainability
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MDPI and ACS Style
Wolbring, G.; Burke, B. Reflecting on Education for Sustainable Development through Two Lenses: Ability Studies and Disability Studies. Sustainability 2013, 5, 2327-2342.
Wolbring G, Burke B. Reflecting on Education for Sustainable Development through Two Lenses: Ability Studies and Disability Studies. Sustainability. 2013; 5(6):2327-2342.
Wolbring, Gregor; Burke, Brigid. 2013. "Reflecting on Education for Sustainable Development through Two Lenses: Ability Studies and Disability Studies." Sustainability 5, no. 6: 2327-2342.