Bæredygtighedspædagogik og handlekompetence – et velkommen tilbage til 70erne?

Translated title of the contribution: Sustainable pedagogy and action competence – welcome back the 70s?

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The article addresses the concepts of sustainability and sustainability pedagogy. It highlights the connections between utopia, criticism and action within a discourse analytical perspective. Current sustainability pedagogical discourses focus on the development of empowerment, critical thinking, and changes in attitude. The article shows how these concepts can be traced back to critical pedagogy and the grassroots movements of the 70s, with particular emphasis on the pedagogical conditions for the development of an action competence that enables participation in socio-political processes: a prerequisite for moving society towards a more sustainable future. In doing so, the pedagogical approach touches on the relationship between individual action and societal needs and demonstrates the necessity for behavioural changes. The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals constitute a discursive framework for sustainability pedagogy as a whole; these goals address key issues – such as equality and justice – while challenging various understandings of democracy. Imminent and devastating climate changes are associated with anxiety, which may manifest itself as resignation or become a driving force for environmental activism, as seen in the 70s. The building by Tvind Folk High School of the world’s tallest and most technologically advanced wind turbine in the 70s was a classic example of critical pedagogy in action, which proved to be significant not only to the wind turbine industry, but to the broader environmental discourse, and underlines a close and complex connection between environmental political activism, pedagogy and the development of action competence. It also emphasizes the importance of imagination and technological exploration, as this event paved the way for significant economic investment in environmental and wind turbine technologies. The analysis is inspired by Michel Foucault’s discourse analytical perspective (i.e. power/ counter-power) and C. Wright Mills’ concept of ‘sociological imagination’ from 1959, the concept of ‘action’ in John Dewey’s Pragmatism, and Wolfgang Klafki’s concept of ‘Bildung’.
Translated title of the contributionSustainable pedagogy and action competence – welcome back the 70s?
Original languageDanish
JournalForskning og Forandring
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)47 -68
Number of pages22
Publication statusPublished - 15 Dec 2020


  • sustainability
  • sustainability pedagogy
  • action competence
  • critical pedagogy
  • sociological imagination
  • formation


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