The rise of individualism. The implications for promoting relations between self, others and the environment in outdoor education.
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In this article I explain how the process of individualisation has led to the prioritisation of the self over aspects of community and place. The theories of risk society (Beck, 1992; Beck & Beck-Gernsheim, 2002) and neoliberalism (Bourdieu, 1998; Forsey & Lockhart, 2004) are used to explain this process. These theories have three significant implications for outdoor educators working for social and environmental change. The first is that people are urged to negotiate their futures through constructing identities of an autonomous self as a reaction to these social processes. Secondly, individuals consequently tend to de-value certain others in a market-oriented world. Finally, place has become less important in the construction of individual identity and the shaping of social relations. These aspects have significant implications for outdoor educators interested in promoting new understandings of self, others and the environment (Martin, 1996, 1999; Mann, 2002). As a way of understanding how social processes influence young people's notions of self, others and the environment I explore how young people have adopted mobile phone technology. Suggestions to counter some negative aspects of the individualisation process are offered to outdoor educators whose general goal is to promote a greater understanding of self, others and the environment.
Australian Journal of Outdoor Education
© 2006 Australian Journal of Outdoor Education. Please refer to the journal link for access to the definitive, published version. This copy is used with permission of the publisher The Outdoor Council of Australia.