Pedagogies of doing good: Problematisations, authorities, technologies and teleologies in food activism

Adult Learning Australia
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Australian Journal of Adult Learning, 2012, 52 (3), pp. 532 - 572
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In this paper, we apply a framework from Nikolas Rose to analyse the politics of âdoing goodâ in food activist education, what we call food pedagogies. We argue that a detailed exploration of food pedagogies has been neglected in adult education and in the growing sites of food education, advice and learning in Australia and other countries. In contrast to other frameworks in adult education which focus on classifying approaches as behaviourist, humanist, progressive and radical, we deploy problematisations, technologies, authorities and teleologies. These latter âpathwaysâ move away from an abstract idea of âpower as propertyâ and as coercive (Gore 1993) to an examination of âpower as techniqueâ and as productive. Drawing on qualitative data with three different types of food activist educators â a biodynamic educator, health promotion manager and two farmer-activists, we show how Roseâs framework Rick Flowers and Elaine Swan 533 opens up our ideas about what can be seen as pedagogical to include the non-human and how adult educators authorise their claims to be doing good. We conclude by arguing that the differences in how each of these activists see food and health should not simply be seen as a difference in opinion but a difference in what Annemarie Mol (1999) calls ontological politics. In so doing, the paper contributes new analytic framework for analysing adult educator approaches and in particular their claims to be âdoing goodâ.
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