Educating for a sustainable future through the Circular Economy: Citizen involvement and social change




Qualitative research, social sustainability, curriculum design, discourse analysis, social change, schools


The climate crisis and the environmental emergency are a sign of uncertainty for the future of the planet. European and national educational directives establish the framework of action and the commitments that must be made by each agent to reach the new sustainable paradigm which is based on circularity. The school, as an institution of social transformation, faces a reproductive framework that feeds the consumer socio-economic structure, covering up the dimension and urgency of the problem. The aim is to identify the forces for change to improve the intervention mechanisms in the educational field in Spain aimed at fostering the involvement and the participation of young people. The qualitative methodology combines discourse analysis using Grounded Theory and prospective analysis using the scenario method. By means of a validated questionnaire, semi-structured interviews and focus groups are conducted with technicians and managers, trainers of trainers, teachers, and researchers (n=53). The discourse of the agents and legislation on education and sustainability are analysed to generate substantive theory. By means of the theorization obtained, drivers and constraints are identified, establishing a probability and impact matrix that allows for the visualization of three possible futures. It concludes with a set of recommendations to strengthen the desired scenario and to reduce the possibilities of the dystopian scenario.