Conceptualizing Complexities of Curriculum: Developing a Lexicon for Ecojustice and the Transdisciplinarity of Bodies


  • Darren Stanley
  • Kelly Young


In this paper, we consider how the theoretical framework and hermeneutic lens known as complexity science might inform a view of ecojustice. Specifically, we examine certain underlying principles of complexity science as organizational invariances that arise within and without all relationally-embedded organizational bodies"”physiological, biological, psychological, social, cultural, political, and ecological. To this end, we consider important principles and notions like diversity and variability, redundancy, self-organization and emergence, relationships and connections, distributed leadership and governance, and organizational health and learning. By way of examples, we draw from our own experiences as educators and citizens of the world to show how an attention to many different scales is required to articulate an ecojustice pedagogy. To help us, we turn our attention to Nature for guidance in the way that life self-organizes and for a new set of images and metaphors to frame and describe ecojustice. In doing so, we show that while the substance of organizations may be different, beneath each deeply entangled and embedded organization is a set of underlying principles that prompt and give shape to healthy, sustainable, democratic organizations.

Author Biographies

Darren Stanley

Darren Stanley is Associate Professor in the Faculty of Education at the University of Windsor in Windsor, Ontario, where he is currently Associate Dean, Graduate Programs and Research, Faculty of Education. He received his doctorate form the University of Alberta, and his research interests include the study of complex phenomena as a paradigm for understanding and framing aspects of health and healthy learning organizations. Additionally, he is interested in complexity theory as a framework for understanding interdisciplinarity and transdisciplinarity. As a teacher educator in the faculty’s pre-service education program, he is interested in the ways in which pre-service teachers enact complexified understandings of mathematics and pedagogy.  He is the co-editor with Kelly Young of Contemporary Studies in Canadian Curriculum: Principles,Portraits, and Practices (Detselig, 2011). 

Kelly Young

Kelly Young is an Associate Professor at Trent University’s School of Education where she teaches English Curriculum methods and foundational courses. Her areas of research include literacy, curriculum theorizing and leadership in ecojustice environmental education. She is co-editor of Approaches to Educational Leadership and Practice (Smale & Young, Detselig, 2007).