What kind of critical university education for sustainable development?


  • Angela Barthes
  • Agnieszka Jeziorski




In the course of the institutional integration of education for sustainable development (ESD), university courses have been going through rapid changes, but this process can be blocked or aided by each country’s particular features, whether institutional, financial, cultural or other. This article proposes an examination of the specific socio-educational characteristics of the implementation of ESD based on a study of the social representations of students in three European countries (Germany, France and Poland), and in two types of Master’s level university education. The analysis initially focuses on the differences and similarities in the student research groups. It then analyzes the representational components in terms of the possible impacts on the implementation of ESD at the university from a critical, citizenship perspective. Despite the differences in the students’ representational structures in the various countries, we can see that, in the three national groups, the social representations of sustainable development are highly focused and have a highly fragmented character. The lack of systematization of the different elements of the representation poses barriers to critical education, although this takes different forms in the different countries.


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How to Cite

Barthes, A., & Jeziorski, A. (2012). What kind of critical university education for sustainable development?. JSSE - Journal of Social Science Education, 11(4). https://doi.org/10.4119/jsse-626