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Sustainability 2017, 9(1), 21; doi:10.3390/su9010021

Towards Transgressive Learning through Ontological Politics: Answering the “Call of the Mountain” in a Colombian Network of Sustainability

1
Sociology of Development and Change Group, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 8130, 6706 KN Wageningen, The Netherlands
2
MINGAS in Transition Research Group, Calle 8 # 16-218 Rozo, Palmira, Colombia
3
Sociology of Development and Change Group, Wageningen University, Hollandseweg 1, 6706 KN Wageningen, The Netherlands
4
Education and Competence Studies Group (ECS), Wageningen University, Hollandseweg 1, 6706 KN Wageningen, The Netherlands
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Helmut Haberl
Received: 6 October 2016 / Revised: 16 December 2016 / Accepted: 16 December 2016 / Published: 24 December 2016
(This article belongs to the Section Social Ecology and Sustainability)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [255 KB, uploaded 28 December 2016]

Abstract

In line with the increasing calls for more transformative and transgressive learning in the context of sustainability studies, this article explores how encounters between different ontologies can lead to socio-ecological sustainability. With the dominant one-world universe increasingly being questioned by those who advocate the existence of many worlds—a so-called pluriverse—there lays the possibility of not only imagining other human–nature realities, but also engaging with them in practice. Moving towards an understanding of what happens when a multiplicity of worlds encounter one another, however, entails a sensitivity to the negotiations between often competing ontologies—or ontological politics. Based on an ethnographic methodology and narrative methods, data were collected from two consecutive intercultural gatherings called El Llamado de la Montaña (The Call of the Mountain), which take place for five days every year in different parts of Colombia. By actively participating in these gatherings of multiplicity, which address complex socio-ecological challenges such as food sovereignty and defence of territory, results show how encounters between different ontologies can result in transformative and potentially transgressive learning in terms of disrupting stubborn routines, norms and hegemonic powers which tend to accelerate unsustainability. Although we argue that a fundamental part of the wicked sustainability puzzle lies in supporting more relational ontologies, we note that such learning environments also lead to conflicts through inflexibility and (ab)use of power which must be addressed if sustained socio-ecological learning is to take place. View Full-Text
Keywords: ontological politics; transformative learning; transgressive learning; sustainability; Colombia; narrative methods ontological politics; transformative learning; transgressive learning; sustainability; Colombia; narrative methods
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Chaves, M.; Macintyre, T.; Verschoor, G.; Wals, A.E.J. Towards Transgressive Learning through Ontological Politics: Answering the “Call of the Mountain” in a Colombian Network of Sustainability. Sustainability 2017, 9, 21.

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