Children as environmental and cosmopolitical actors

“Young people are often seen as seismographs of change in the western world, and this is also true of sustainability. This is obvious in political declarations on sustainable development, but also in social theory and pedagogical philosophies aiming to make children concerned and responsible world citizens. The concept of cosmopolitanism has become a trademark for theories that share the uncertain but strong hopes articulated in the politics of sustainable development – that individuals are able to raise their sights from local arenas and develop a cosmopolitical outlook, based on the experience of world citizenship (Beck, 2006). According to these theories, globalization is not only a question of economy or politics, but has emotional and ethical consequences too. The influx of global concerns urges people to act from the concept of a common destiny, shared with other continents and future generations.

Thus, we may talk about forced cosmopolitization, most evident in late modern societies. However, as shown by Furia (2008), one should not suppose a priori that cosmopolitanism is an ideal upheld only by an affluent, well-educated western elite. The concept of the ‘cosmopolitical gaze’ refers to the fact that human empathic capacities may extend globally, when local lifeworlds are being penetrated by global risks.” (p.131) “Schools and the media,” they continue, “are [-p.132] significant for the development of such a perspective, because both have the capacity to increase awareness of the relation between the local and the global (Kemp, 2005; Silverstone, 2007).” (pp.131-132)

Ref: Bengt Larsson, Magnus Andersson and Christina Osbeck [on behalf of Norwegian Centre for Child Research (NOSEB)] (2010) Bringing Environmentalism Home : Children’s influence on family consumption in the Nordic countries and beyond Childhood 17: 129

NOTE: reference is made to: Beck, U. (2006) The Cosmopolitan Vision. Cambridge: Polity.  Kemp, P. (2005) Världsmedborgaren. Göteborg: Daidalos. Silverstone, R. (2007) Media and Morality. Cambridge: Polity.


About backyardbooks

This blog is a kind of electronic storage locker for ideas and quotes that inform my research... literary research into fiction for young adults (with a special focus on New Zealand fiction). Kiwis are producing amazing literature for younger readers, but it isn't getting the academic appreciation it deserves. I hope readers of this blog can make use of the material I gather and share by way of promoting our fiction. Cheers!
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