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Utopia and Climate Change Education: Modes of Utopian Knowledge in Times of Climate Crisis

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Lisa Garforth



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


High expectations are placed on Climate Change Education (CCE), ranging from emotionally and practically preparing young people for the changes ahead, to supporting them in their development as climate-friendly actors. To address these challenges and inspire new approaches, this paper introduces a typology of utopian knowledge into the practice of CCE. Four dimensions of utopian knowledge have been derived from utopian theory – denunciatory and annunciatory, intrinsic and extrinsic knowledge. The modes result from combining these dimensions and describe forms in which learners can get to know themselves and their worlds in utopian ways – in ways that are informed by the desire for a better way of living in the climate crisis. By delineating possibilities of extending CCE using a typology of utopian knowledge, we identify shared starting points and challenges in thinking about utopia and the climate crisis. Both deal with complex issues which remain unknown or vague and at the same time open up desires. To render the theoretical elaboration more vivid, we present exemplary questions and reflections on how the modes of utopian knowledge might be practiced in CCE. The result are new perspectives on living in the climate crisis, and, hopefully, new ways of being.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Liebhaber N, Garforth L, Frick M, Keller L

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Pedagogy, Culture and Society

Year: 2024

Issue: ePub ahead of Print

Online publication date: 29/05/2024

Acceptance date: 16/04/2024

Date deposited: 22/04/2024

ISSN (print): 1468-1366

ISSN (electronic): 1747-5104

Publisher: Routledge


DOI: 10.1080/14681366.2024.2359464

ePrints DOI: 10.57711/k1vq-vk30


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Funder referenceFunder name
Austrian Climate Research Program-ACRP