’Nature’, Childhood and The Anthropocene: evaluating the challenges for Education Studies

The proposition that human agency has shaped and modified Earth systems so extensively that we have entered a new geological epoch named the Anthropocene is attracting increasing research and scholarly interest not only within the natural sciences, but also across the social sciences and humanities. It therefore seems timely to consider the implications of The Anthropocene as a concept and as critical proposition for education in general and our discipline in particular. This paper seeks to establish terms for an emerging discussion of implications and possible responses not only in relation to curricular content, but also some of the foundational assumptions of modernity and their articulation through institutionalised constructions of ‘the child’ and childhood. It proposes that the possibilities to de-naturalise childhood may not only be important for children’s lives, but also for ways that the normative institutional realities within which schooling operates are increasingly legitimised as ‘there-is-no-alternative’ options.