Towards a post-humanist design for educational inclusion

Proposing a study pedagogy for litter polluted critical zones




sustainability education, socioecological justice, critical zone research, study pedagogy, community arts


In this contribution to the special issue on adult education, inclusion and justice we discuss how an inclusive pedagogy can foster a more just way of inhabiting litter polluted living environments, in which the interests of both human and non-human dwellers are taken into consideration. More precisely, we theorize how arts can function as study material and enable a collective sensitivity for the ways in which (non-)human entities (e.g., fishermen, seals, birds, litter pickers, tourists, plastic producers) constitute a ‘sick’ habitat. Based upon our theory-driven participatory action research with adult inhabitants of the litter polluted Belgian coast, we conclude that a study pedagogy has the power to constitute collective events of emancipation in which inhabitants of damaged living environments can start to inhabit these places, i.e., they become (more) attentive to the reciprocal relationships with other human and non-human entities and respond accordingly with care towards these entanglements.


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Author Biographies

Viktor Swillens, KU Leuven

Viktor Swillens is PhD researcher at the Laboratory for Education Society (KU Leuven). In his research he designs scientific-artistic experiments within non-formal settings of adult education. He mainly draws inspiration from the work of sociologist Bruno Latour, which he transforms into educational initiatives that are situated within ecologically damaged living environments.

Mathias Decuypere, KU Leuven

Mathias Decuypere is Associate Professor at the Methodology of Educational Sciences Research Group (KU Leuven, Belgium). Primary research interests are in developing and making use of qualitative research methods through a sociomaterial and social topological lens; new educational technologies and heavily digitized educational environments; higher and regular education policy; open education; and education for sustainable development.

Joke Vandenabeele, KU Leuven

Joke Vandenabeele is associate professor social and cultural pedagogy at the Laboratory for Education and Society (KU Leuven). Her research focuses on how educational practices are being constituted within the domains of non-formal education, community education and public pedagogy. She has a diverse and wide-ranging experience with practice oriented academic research and choose to develop her research in close consultation with various stakeholders around social issues such as poverty, environment and technology policy, solidarity, living together in the diversity of a city, sustainable development and agriculture, etc. She is inspired by contemporary theories on the ecology of educational practices, making issues public, participatory design of communities of practice and the temporality of study practices.

Joris Vlieghe, KU Leuven

Joris Vlieghe is an associate professor of philosophy and theory of education at KU Leuven (Belgium). With Naomi Hodgson and Piotr Zamojski he published a Manifesto for a Post-critical Pedagogy (Punctum Books 2018) and with the last author Towards an Ontology of Teaching. Thing-centered pedagogy, affirmation and love for the world (Springer 2019). In line with his interest in the figure of the teacher and the educational meaning of studying, his current research explores how study practices can offer a response to the issue of how to live well together with the world’s human and non-human inhabitants in times of ecological catastrophe. He is also interested in the impact of digital technologies on education, and on the future of the school, especially when a culture of the screen is (rapidly) substituted for a culture of the book.


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How to Cite

Swillens, V., Decuypere, M., Vandenabeele, J., & Vlieghe, J. (2023). Towards a post-humanist design for educational inclusion: Proposing a study pedagogy for litter polluted critical zones. European Journal for Research on the Education and Learning of Adults, 14(3), 379–395.

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