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An exploration of sustainability change agents as facilitators of nonformal learning: mapping a moving and intertwined landscape

Katrien Van Poeck, Centre for Sustainable Development, Department of Political Sciences, Ghent University
Jeppe Læssøe, Danish School of Education, Aarhus University
Thomas Block, Centre for Sustainable Development, Department of Political Sciences, Ghent University

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5751/ES-09308-220233

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Abstract

We explore the variety of ways in which change agents try to contribute to sustainable development and how, by doing so, they enable different forms of learning. Drawing on research literature as well as empirical studies, we distinguish a diversity of change agency roles. We then describe and develop an ideal typology of change agents according to how they relate to two fields of tension: that between instrumental vs. open-ended approaches to change and learning, and that between personal detachment vs. involvement. Finally, we compare the developed ideal types, i.e., Technician, Convincer, Mediator, and Concerned Explorer, with empirical examples and suggest a dynamic reading of the typology as a landscape in which change agents move between and across different positions according to changing and shifting contexts.

Key words

change agents; ideal typology; nonformal learning; sustainability; transition

Copyright © 2017 by the author(s). Published here under license by The Resilience Alliance. This article  is under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.  You may share and adapt the work for noncommercial purposes provided the original author and source are credited, you indicate whether any changes were made, and you include a link to the license.

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Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087