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Reflecting on Education for Sustainable Development through Two Lenses: Ability Studies and Disability Studies

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  • Gregor Wolbring

    () (Faculty of Medicine, Department Community Health Sciences, Community Rehabilitation and Disability Studies, University of Calgary, 3330 Hospital Drive NW, Calgary, AL T2N 4N1, Canada)

  • Brigid Burke

    () (Department of Sociology, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON M5S 2J4, Canada)

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Gregor Wolbring & Brigid Burke, 2013. "Reflecting on Education for Sustainable Development through Two Lenses: Ability Studies and Disability Studies," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 5(6), pages 1-16, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:gam:jsusta:v:5:y:2013:i:6:p:2327-2342:d:25989
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Sabina Alkire & Rufus Black, 1997. "A practical reasoning theory of development ethhics: furthering the capabilities approach," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 9(2), pages 263-279.
    2. Sonntag, Viki, 2000. "Sustainability -- in light of competitiveness," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(1), pages 101-113, July.
    3. Van de Kerk, Geurt & Manuel, Arthur R., 2008. "A comprehensive index for a sustainable society: The SSI -- the Sustainable Society Index," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(2-3), pages 228-242, June.
    4. Jacqueline Noga & Gregor Wolbring, 2012. "The Economic and Social Benefits and the Barriers of Providing People with Disabilities Accessible Clean Water and Sanitation," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 4(11), pages 1-19, November.
    5. Gregor Wolbring, 2012. "Expanding Ableism: Taking down the Ghettoization of Impact of Disability Studies Scholars," Societies, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 2(3), pages 1-9, July.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Jacqueline Noga & Gregor Wolbring, 2013. "An Analysis of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio +20) Discourse Using an Ability Expectation Lens," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 5(9), pages 1-25, August.
    2. Gregor Wolbring & Theresa Rybchinski, 2013. "Social Sustainability and Its Indicators through a Disability Studies and an Ability Studies Lens," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 5(11), pages 1-19, November.
    3. Gregor Wolbring & Rachel Mackay & Theresa Rybchinski & Jacqueline Noga, 2013. "Disabled People and the Post-2015 Development Goal Agenda through a Disability Studies Lens," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 5(10), pages 1-31, September.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    ableism; ability expectation; ability studies; disability studies; disabled people; people with disabilities; education for sustainable development; sustainability;

    JEL classification:

    • Q - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics
    • Q0 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - General
    • Q2 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation
    • Q3 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation
    • Q5 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics
    • Q56 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environment and Development; Environment and Trade; Sustainability; Environmental Accounts and Accounting; Environmental Equity; Population Growth
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products

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