Value change through “transgressive messaging” for sustainability?

People today are exposed to unprecedented loads of information. Educators and campaigners are eagerly trying to experiment with new ways to reach their audiences and facilitate learning processes and result in sustainability outcomes. One such experimental avenue is to design communication and learning interventions in ways that “disrupt” learners’ or recipients’ established ways of thinking or routine modes of processing information to open up spaces for reflection and reframing. WUR professor Arjen Wals refers to these modes of learning as “transgressive learning”. There have been few if any studies of this approach that compare it to more established formats in sustainability communication yet.

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on
  • Goal? The aim of this thesis proposal is to develop a communication intervention that uses a transgressive messaging approach and to compare it empirically to other established formats in sustainability communication.
  • How? The student working on this thesis will review selected literature on transgressive learning, disruptive messaging, and perturbative communication to inform the design of a messaging approach. This messaging approach will then be tested in an experimental settings with comparison/control groups.
  • What’s in it for you? You will be able to introduce an interesting innovation from the learning sciences to the field of sustainability communication research. This thesis project will also help you to develop your skillsets in conducting experimental research.
  • Who? You have an interest in sustainability communication and education and have solid previous experience with experimental research designs.
  • What else? Depending on the quality of the final work, the thesis could be further developed into a scientific paper submission to an academic journal

Practical information

  • Starting date: flexible
  • Language: English

If you are interested, please get in touch with Daniel Fischer.

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