Crafting Nature, Crafting Self
An ecophilosophy of friluftsliv, craftmaking and sustainability
This article is based on a project in the Regional Research Fund (“Oslofjorden”) that explores the relationship between friluftsliv (outdoor life), craftmaking and sustainability in the context of the friluftsliv program at the University of South-Eastern Norway (USN). The overall question in the project, and this article, is: What do students say about the relationship between nature and self, the process of learning and craftmaking in friluftsliv and how to integrate different forms of sustainability? As educators and researchers in the field of friluftsliv studies, we are also interested in implications and possibilities for teaching friluftsliv and craftmaking in sustainable ways. The project was initiated in collaboration with our students and colleagues, inviting them to critically and constructively investigate and reflect on what it is that prevents and promotes sustainability in the education of friluftsliv and craftmaking. In recent years, researchers have pointed to a paradox between friluftsliv and sustainability, and how this paradox plays out in combination with craftmaking will also be addressed. The article draws on a critical participatory action research approach, which entails that as researchers we participate in the development of knowledge in the project. In addition, we set out to conduct a meta-analysis of the findings, so to get an overall picture of the problem area. We take an ecophilosophical perspective on the topic, with a special emphasis on the relationship between self and nature. We find that students, participating in the project, were concerned about promoting a mutual reinforcing relationship of sustainability between friluftsliv and craftmaking, and that crafting nature is also a way of crafting self. However, it is not possible to generalize from our findings and we ended up with more questions than answers. As such, we hope to have inspired or provoked others to also conduct research on the topic.
Keywords: Ecophilosophy, friluftsliv, craftmaking, sustainability, learning through making, self, nature-use, nature protection.
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