This article explores a hitherto neglected issue: the significance of nature in the learning lives of marginalised young people. Drawing on both post-human and sociocultural perspectives, it develops a theoretical analysis of this important subject. It uses research with 114 young people in jobs without training in rural South-west England to analyse how marginalised young people engage with nature and what they learn from it. It concludes that the intra-activity of young people and nature creates the potential for new worlds and bodies, but ones that are still shaped by social inequalities. Nature is often highly significant in the lives of marginalised young people, potentially offering them the freedom, equilibrium and expertise that had been denied in the formal educational context and opening them up to learning. However, these new learning worlds are transient and social inequalities need to be addressed in order to make them sustainable. Policy makers have become interested in harnessing nature to citizenship drives for young people, for example in the UK National Citizen Service Plan. But the article concludes that regimented initiatives are not the right approach to build on the personal, secret and playful qualities of this learning. The article draws out the important implications of this study for research, policy and practice.
|Publication Title||Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education|
|Publisher||Taylor & Francis|
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