2020, Bloomsbury

within series: Bloomsbury Critical Education (Peter Mayo)

Misiaszek argues that ecopedagogies grounded in critical, Freirean pedagogies construct learning that leads to human actions geared towards increased social and environmental justice and planetary sustainability. Throughout the book he discusses the need for teaching, reading, and researching through problematizing the causes of socio-environmental violence, including oppressive processes of globalization and constructs of “development”, “economics”, and “citizenship”, to name a few, that emerge from socio-historical oppressions (e.g., colonialization, racism, patriarchy, neoliberalism, xenophobia, epistemicide) and dominance over the rest of nature. Misiaszek concludes with ecopedagogies’ challenges within the current post-truth era and possibilities of reimagining UNESCO’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Book Review: International Studies in Sociology of Education journal by David Yisrael Epstein-HaLevi

2018, Routledge (Taylor & Francis)

with series: Critical Global Citizenship Education (Carlos Alberto Torres)

Misiaszek examines the (dis)connection between critical global citizenship education models and ecopedagogy which is grounded in Paulo Freire’s pedagogy. Exploring how concepts of citizenship are affected by globalization, this book argues that environmental pedagogues must teach critical environmental literacies in order for students to understand global environmental issues through the world’s diverse perspectives. Misiaszek analyses the ways environmental pedagogies can use aspects of critical global citizenship education to better understand how environmental issues are contextually experienced and understood by societies locally and globally through issues of globalization, colonialism, socio-economics, gender, race, ethnicities, nationalities, indigenous issues, and spiritualties.

Preface by Carlos Alberto Torres (Educating the global environmental citizen: Understanding ecopedagogy in local and global contexts, 2018)

Educating the Global Environmental Citizen is a tour de force. Rarely we find a book which contains such systematic level of analysis of a topic so relevant for sustainability of the planet and the future of cosmopolitan democracies promoting global citizenship education. Rarely does one finds a book with the level of detail, both in analyses and criticism, that this book brings to the reader. This book is a state-of-the-art analysis and from a critical perspective of the connections between ecopedagogy, sustainability, and global citizenship education.

Inspired by the work of Paulo Freire and critical pedagogy, Dr. Greg Misiaszek provides an analysis of sustainability and its connections with citizenship which is clearly documented and politically powerful in addressing socio-environmental issues. In addition to his path-breaking work on ecopedagogy from a Freirean perspective, the author is very well grounded in comparative education. This combined expertise accounts for Misiaszek’s ability to inspect the topic through case studies, providing evidence-based research underscoring his theses. Considering his intellectual resources, it is not surprisingly that Misiaszek endorses a postcolonial tradition while inspecting the workings of globalization and how it impacts on a planet deeply affected by predatory cultures. Armed with the munition of analyses around Critical Race Theories, gender neoliberalism, Freire, Indigenous Knowledges, and media literacy, this book offers a cornucopia of insights into one of the most complex issues that our generation and generations to come will have to confront: how to survive and prosper in a planet that is reaching the limits of its habitability.

Yet, it is not only the well documented technical analysis and bibliographical review that makes this book a tour de force, but also the epistemological principles that provides reach nutrients for our author.  Like all critical theorists, Misiaszek holds it impossible to fully dissociate the normative from the analytical in constructing scientific thought, thus the importance of the notion of a good society to guide varied intellectual explorations. Similarly, Misiaszek doesn’t deny the political role of education, for what Paulo Freire called the politicity of education. Finally, Misiaszek’s book is not detached from historicity of thought and policy prescriptions emerging from such theorizing, as not all social constructions are equal in terms of logical configuration, methodological rigor, or solid empirical proof.

The theme of ecology and sustainability, which Freirians called ‘eco-pedagogy’ was a theme Freire discovered late in life despite the fact that it was, historically, a central theme of the utopian socialist tradition.  The old master ran out of time and was unable to formulate his analysis of planetary citizenship, something that has become an indispensable theme in all discussions about global citizenship, another surprisingly liminal concern for septuagenarian Freire. It is ironic that, although his life experience, thought, and renown all enlarged to global proportions, Freire did not deal critically with the theme of globalization and neoliberalism until the very end of his life. Fortunately, one of Freire’s closest associate, and Director of the Paulo Freire Institute of São Paulo, philosopher Moacir Gadotti, and to some extent my own work and some of my own students’ work, have initiated a new path of reinventing Freire inspired in Gadotti’s important contribution Pedagogia da Terra. Jointly with Gadotti, amply quoted in this book, and in the spirit of the Vietnamese Buddhist Monk Thich Nhat Hanh, a whole generation of new Freirean scholars like Greg Misiaszek has come along. In this spirit, this book is, in many respects, an intelligent and well documented reinvention of Freire and ecopedagogy.

The implementation of the Global Education First Initiative (GEFI) in 2012 by the then UN Secretary Ban-Ki Moon opened a new chapter in the global conversation about access and quality education, two key pillars of the GEFI. But it is the third pillar of global citizenship education which emerges as a formidable principle of sustainability. As a central pillar in this program, global citizenship education (GCE) is identified as a central component of social transformation. GCE is predicated as a resource to enhance education for all, quality of education, global peace, sustainability of the planet, and the defense of global commons; as such, it dovetails very nicely with the principles of sustainability and the defense of the planet. I am convinced, as Misiaszek argues, that GCE as a pillar of sustainable development is one of the answers to the challenges affecting global peace, such as growing inequality; global poverty; neoliberal globalization; banking education; and predatory cultures destroying the environment and our planet.

Like most critical theorists, I insist continuously in the need to criticize and celebrate at the same time. Today I celebrate this insightful book which opens up so many avenues for thinking and praxis. Educating the Global Citizen will guide us in the defense of the planet and in our struggle for a better world; a world, in the words of Freire, in which it will be easier to love.

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