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Institut for Planlægning

institut for Planlægning

PhD defence by Morten Kromann Nielsen

Changing Lives through Food and Farming? - An analysis of pedagogical practice, agency, learning and identity construction in the American Youth food justice movement.


09.05.2018 kl. 13.00 - 16.00


The general need for new educational approaches to support and empower marginalized youth as well as the challenge of designing new approaches to counter the motivational crisis in the formal education system have been the guiding perspectives in the thesis. Through the methodology of an anthropological case study the thesis has looked towards the informal educational framework of the American Youth Food Justice movement. Here the thesis has explored the interplay between pedagogy and learning with a theoretical framework that combines educational anthropology, critical youth studies and the intersection between critical pedagogy, environmental education and research on the food justice movement. The research questions have focused on the impact of a food and farming framework for the educational activities, how professional roles are designed and which forms of agency, learning and identity construction the participating youth experience.

The main finding is a conceptualization of a pedagogical practice that uses the food and farming framework as a pedagogical resource for two main agendas – job training and food justice. A central element is the way staff and youth roles are dynamically constructed.  As staff roles change from being employers to mentors, partners and friends the youth learning process changes from being primarily focused on skills and work ethic to become more identity formative, expressed as increased self- confidence and ‘life changing’.

The study contributes to a call for a ‘critical pedagogy of place’ with an argument for a continued research focus on the importance of exploring and theorizing the youth food justice movement as an informal educational setting that appears to both present solutions to the motivational crisis in the formal education system and to promote inclusion in the sense that it both prepares youth for transitions into the job- and educational world and motivates them to participate in democratic processes ranging from agents of change in the family context to activists for food- and social justice.

assessment committee

Deputy Director UC SAREP Gail Feenstra | University of California, Davis, USA

Associate Professor Jonas Andreasen Lysgaard | Aarhus University, Denmark

Associate Professor Søren Kerndrup (Chairman) | Department of Planning, Aalborg University, Denmark


Associate Professor Mette Weinreich Hansen | Department of Planning, Aalborg University, Denmark
Associate Professor Karen Wistoft | Department of Education, Aarhus University, Denmark


Associate Professor Helene Christine Reinbach | Department of Planning, Aalborg University, Denmark


Department of Planning will host a reception after the defence. The reception takes place in the lounge area at the 2nd floor. Please register for the event through this link


Free of charge


Department of Planning


A.C. Meyers Vænge 15, 2450 København SV, Room 15 3.084A

Tilmelding inden

03.05.2018 kl. 08.34

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