The Matter of Geography in Education for Sustainable Development: The Case of Danish University Geography

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Geographical imaginations are absolutely vital to make sense of sustainability challenges. Yet, a number of studies reveal that geography education has been slow in integrating issues of sustainability into curricula. Geography is particularly interesting in the context of ESD, due to its tradition of investigating human environment interactions. In this paper we aim to contribute to this particular field of knowledge by providing an empirical analysis of ESD in Danish University Geography. In this paper it is examined how programs in Geography in higher education have taken different approaches to addressing issues of sustainability. Then, it is examined how geographers articulate their role and function as to addressing issues of sustainability. It is concluded that, though geographers generally are reluctant with using the concept of sustainability, and find it better serves as an implicit notion, geographers’ find their discipline contributes considerably to ESD in three ways. First, geography’s strong tradition in the human environment theme provides a methodological basis for dealing with issues of sustainability. Second, the spatio-temporal dimensions of sustainability call for geographical approaches to be able to understand the dynamics, complexity and interactions in various scales. Third, geographers find their discipline provides an integrative knowledge platform between the natural and social sciences.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTransformative Approaches to Sustainable Development at Universities : Working Across Disciplines
EditorsWalter Leal Filho
Number of pages12
PublisherSpringer Science+Business Media
Publication dateJan 2015
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-319-08836-5
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2015
SeriesWorld Sustainable Series


  • geography
  • higher education
  • education for sustainable development
  • curricula constructs
  • sustaianble discourses

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