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date: 10 December 2018

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter explores relationships between democratic action research and environmental political theory. In the absence of action research pedagogies, neo-liberalism will increasingly undermine the spaces and possibilities in institutions of higher education that have been integral to the development of environmental political theory. Action research pedagogy offers collaborative pathways for students, faculty, and community members to begin to address the profound ecological, political, and educational challenges of the contemporary world. The chapter contends that the transformative quotidian work involved in action research pedagogies is likely an indispensable condition for engendering civic agency, a sense of active hope, and theoretical reflection in students who are otherwise often resistant to it. With reference to the action research movement at Northern Arizona University, it illuminates ways in which action research can lead to institutional change in higher education that may catalyze environmental thought and action in dark times.

Keywords: environmental political theory, democratic action research, pedagogy, higher education, civic agency, institutional change, neo-liberalism

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