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Jonas Andreasen Lysgaard

Socio-psychological processes of identity formation among EE/ESD enthusiast

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Introduction: When engaging with normative educational ideals such as education for sustainable development (ESD), such ideals heavily influence socio-psychological processes of identity formation among individuals and groups. This is especially important when looking into enthusiasts and facilitators that often play an important role when dealing with ESD issues especially in a non-formal perspective among e.g. NGO.

Objectives: In this paper we argue that socio-psychological processes of identity formation within non-formal ESD are under illuminated and should play a greater role when developing educational participatory activities. Describing group dynamics and how they draw on the normative and ideological discourse qualities is one thing, but through this paper we also want to stress the importance of the individual and subjective identity formation and meaning making processes when navigating the often contradictionary field of ESD,

Methods: This paper is a theoretical study drawing on theories focusing on socio-psychological processes of identity formation such as psychoanalysis, European-continental social psychology and micro-sociology. The paper also draws on recent empirical research by the authors on enthusiasts within ESD.

Results: Our paper illustrates the importance of the individual identity making processes among ESD enthusiasts and how it correlates with group identity, meaning making in relation to practices as well as distinctions to other discourses within the field, but also how the individual desire for meaning and identity can lead to activities that contradicts the agents own explicit intentions with ESD and can entail different levels of Bad Practice.

Conclusion: In order to continue to push and develop the field of ESD, formal and non-formal, it is important to stress how discourses within the field, group dynamics and individual processes of identity formation both overlap, but also contradicts as the individual enthusiast struggles to navigate the field of ESD. Rather than neglecting these factors, some kind of collective self-reflection might help change agents cope more competent with the socio-psychological dynamics they are part of and contribute to.
Original languageEnglish
Publication year29 Jun 2015
Publication statusPublished - 29 Jun 2015
EventWorld Environmental Education Conference: Planet and People - How can they develop together - Gothenbrug, Sweden
Duration: 29 Jun 20152 Jul 2015


ConferenceWorld Environmental Education Conference

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