Cosmologies and Lifestyles: A Cultural Ecological Framework and Its Implications for Education Systems

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Abstract:

This essay critiques the majoritarian, post-Enlightenment, scientific worldview, the assumptions it makes about human cosmologies and lifestyles and how, in turn, these assumptions influence the nature of education systems. The critique focuses on how the experiences of minority cultures, particularly those cultures that are nomadic or pastoralist, challenge some of the fundamental premises of majoritarian education. There follows a cultural ecological framing which compares the ways in which Western (majoritarian) cultures and minoritarian cultures contextualise education. In Western educational situations, structures, contexts and schemata are substantially pre-defined, and we talk about things as 'context-dependent', since context is something that can be described as the backdrop to behaviour. In minoritarian cultures both meaning and context emerge from people's interactions with their environments and may subsequently be described. These are respectively relational and co-constitutional manifestations of situations. We present a cultural ecological framework in an attempt simultaneously to embrace both interpretations.

Keywords: COSMOLOGY; CULTURAL ECOLOGY; EDUCATION; EXPERIENCE; LEARNING

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3167/ajec.2010.190202

Publication date: September 1, 2010

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  • Anthropological Yearbook of European Cultures relaunched in 2008 as the Anthropological Journal of European Cultures

    Previously published as the Anthropological Yearbook of European Cultures

    Published since 1990, AJEC engages with current debates and innovative research agendas addressing the social and cultural transformations of contemporary European societies. The Journal serves as an important forum for ethnographic research in and on Europe, which in this context is not defined narrowly as a geopolitical entity but rather as a meaningful cultural construction in people's lives, which both legitimates political power and calls forth practices of resistance and subversion. By presenting both new field studies and theoretical reflections on the history and politics of studying culture in Europe anthropologically, AJEC encompasses different academic traditions of engaging with its subject, from social and cultural anthropology to European ethnology and empirische Kulturwissenschaften.
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