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The Transition movement as politics and pedagogy in communities

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    Rights statement: This is a pre-copyedited, author-produced PDF of an article accepted for publication in Community Development Journal following peer review. The version of record Callum McGregor, Jim Crowther; The Transition movement as politics and pedagogy in communities. Community Dev J 2016 1-17. doi: 10.1093/cdj/bsw024 is available online at: https://academic.oup.com/cdj/article-lookup/doi/10.1093/cdj/bsw024

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8-24
Number of pages17
JournalCommunity Development Journal
Issue number1
Early online date14 Jul 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018


Previous contributors to the CDJ have already critically appraised tensions within the Transition approach by examining its tacit assumptions about community (Transitioning communities: community, participation and the Transition Towns movement, Community Development Journal, 46(4), pp. 558–572.) and its political economy (The political economy of localization in the Transition movement, Community Development Journal, 50(2), pp. 213–326.). We add to this work by analysing how the movement’s cultural politics frames its pedagogical approach. We analyse the Transition movement’s pedagogy in the wider context of theoretical arguments about ‘post-politics’. Its pedagogy aims to mould new subjectivities that are commensurate with the energy descent plan of the movement. Central to its approach is the way in which its collective identity has been carefully crafted as distinct from the wider environmental movement in order to generate public appeal. The movement’s focus on local community as a site of consensus rather than conflict, descent rather than dissent, resilience rather than resistance, are central to its curriculum. In this respect, the Transition movement fuilds on what can be useful and valuable in the language of ‘community’, whilst at the same time embodying, or perhaps even amplifying, its limitations and omissions.

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