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Adult education and radical habitus in an environmental campaign: learning in the coal seam gas protests in Australia

Ollis, Tracey and Hamel-Green, Michael 2015, Adult education and radical habitus in an environmental campaign: learning in the coal seam gas protests in Australia, Australian journal of adult learning, vol. 55, no. 2, pp. 202-219.

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Title Adult education and radical habitus in an environmental campaign: learning in the coal seam gas protests in Australia
Author(s) Ollis, TraceyORCID iD for Ollis, Tracey orcid.org/0000-0003-4801-0454
Hamel-Green, Michael
Journal name Australian journal of adult learning
Volume number 55
Issue number 2
Start page 202
End page 219
Total pages 17
Publisher Adult Learning Australia
Place of publication Melbourne, Vic.
Publication date 2015-07-13
ISSN 1443-1394
Keyword(s) adult Learning
Environment movement
activism & learning
informal learning
radical habitus
Pierre Bourdieu
Summary Summary: This paper examines the adult learning dimensions of protestors as they participate in a campaign to stop coal seam gas exploration in Gippsland in Central Victoria, Australia. On a global level, the imposition of coal seam gas exploration by governments and mining companies has been the trigger for movements of resistance from environmental groups. They are concerned about the impact of mining on their land, food and water supplies. In central Gippsland a group of ‘circumstantial activists’ comprised of farmers, tree changers and other local residents are campaigning against coal seam gas exploration. This unlikely coalition of environmental action groups has made effective use of a variety of community education strategies. This paper commences by outlining some of the key literature on learning and activism drawing on the education tradition of adult learning. We then draw on key concepts from Bourdieu’s writing on ‘habitus’ and ‘field’ to analyse the data from this research. We outline some of the learning practices of activists; through their involvement in this campaign, and the knowledge and skills they gain as they develop a feel for the game of protest. We argue circumstantial activists learn both formally and informally in the social environment of campaigning. Of particular interest is the role of more experienced activists from Friends of the Earth (FOE), a non-government organisation (NGO), as they pass on knowledge, experience, tactics and strategies to the novice and less experienced activists in this community campaign. We explore some of the contradictions of the protestors’ identification as activists using Bourdieu’s concepts of ‘doxa’ and ‘Ilusio’. The paper concludes by arguing learning in activism is a rich tradition of adult education and practice. However, Bourdieu’s writing on field and habitus makes an added contribution to interpreting the learning that occurs in the social space of a campaign or social movement.
Language eng
Field of Research 130399 Specialist Studies in Education not elsewhere classified
Socio Economic Objective 939903 Equity and Access to Education
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2015, Adult Learning Australia
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30074731

Document type: Journal Article
Collections: School of Education
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Every reasonable effort has been made to ensure that permission has been obtained for items included in DRO. If you believe that your rights have been infringed by this repository, please contact drosupport@deakin.edu.au.