Towards a relational ontology: re-thinking human-nature relations in outdoor adventure education

Smallwood, Amy (2022) Towards a relational ontology: re-thinking human-nature relations in outdoor adventure education. In: 9th International Outdoor Education Research Conference (IOERC9), 18-22 July 2022, Ambleside, UK. (Unpublished)

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Recent research around nature connectedness in outdoor adventure education (OAE) suggests that those who spend time on a wilderness expedition demonstrate a greater “sense of place” and biophilic expression (Austin et al., 2010; Meltzer, 2014). However, the majority of studies have been empirical in nature and have not adequately explored the ontological and cultural background of OAE. Additionally, while many of these studies indicate a positive correlation between certain types of OAE experiences and human relationships with the more-than-human world, it is unclear as to what degree these experiences inspire an environmental ethic that leads to pro-environmental behaviours (Harrison, 2010). This paper considers the historical and cultural context of OAE in western countries and the ontoepistemological assumptions that undergird common pedagogical practices. Human relationships with the more-than-human world are then examined from a phenomenological perspective, exploring a relational dimension of human encounters that is intimately connected to human identity. Indigenous and feminine perspectives are brought to the foreground, including gift economies, reciprocity, and an ethic of care. Resulting pedagogical implications are then considered, suggesting more place responsive OAE pedagogical practices that lead to environmentally conscious ethical behaviours.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Departments: Institute of Science and Environment > Outdoor Studies
Depositing User: Anna Lupton
Date Deposited: 27 Sep 2022 10:00
Last Modified: 13 Jan 2024 13:33


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