Think Piece: Working for Living - Popular Education as/at Work for Social-ecological Justice

  • Jane Burt Rhodes University
  • Anna Katharine James Rhodes University
  • Shirley Walters University of the Western Cape
  • Astrid von Kotze University of the Western Cape


Drawing on the working lives of popular educators who are striving for socioeconomic and socio-ecological  justice, we demonstrate how popular education is a form of care work which is feminised, often undervalued and unrecognised as highly skilled work. It is relational work that aims to forge solidarity with communities and the environment. Given the state of the planet, the radical transformations that are needed, and the future projection of ‘work’ as including the care economy in large measure, we argue that popular education is a generative site for further exploration of research into work and learning. However, to move popular education as work from the margins means to rethink the current economic system of value. Addressing the contradiction that undervalues work for life/living, popular education engages transformative action motivated by a deep sense of solidarity and a focus on imagining alternatives as an act of hope.

Keywords: work and learning, popular education, care work, solidarity


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Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2411-5959
print ISSN: 1810-0333