University of Oulu

Vladimirova A., Rautio P. (2018) Unplanning Research with a Curious Practice Methodology: Emergence of Childrenforest in the Context of Finland. In: Cutter-Mackenzie A., Malone K., Barratt Hacking E. (eds) Research Handbook on Childhoodnature. Springer International Handbooks of Education. Springer, Cham

Unplanning research with a curious practice methodology : emergence of childrenforest in the context of Finland

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Author: Vladimirova, Anna1; Rautio, Pauliina2
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
2Faculty of Education, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.5 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Springer Nature, 2018
Publish Date: 2020-04-19


This chapter explores the notion of curious practice and the methodology of its application in the context of primary school education in Finland. The concept of curious practice encourages us — researchers and educators — to ask “How does curious practice help us to address children’s relations to forests beyond the child (in) nature dualism?” Curious practice challenges the existing environmental education methodologies employed in recent years that draw heavily on research planning, the child’s representation of nature, and the results of a completed study. Despret’s (Domesticating practices: The case of Arabian Babblers. In G. Marvin and S. McHugh (Eds.), Routledge handbook of human–animal studies (pp. 23–38). New York: Routledge, 2014) approach of curious practice encourages researchers to unplan and make themselves available to the yet unknown, for every single encounter with the other is a mixture of unpredictability, the researcher’s attentiveness, and imagination. The rationale behind curious practice is in learning more about what is seen and heard via questioning the encounters that accept various absences of a preconceived framework of research. As a necessary complement to such a methodology, the chapter also presents a semiotic approach, employed by Eduardo Kohn (How forests think: Toward an anthropology beyond the human. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2013), to inform the method of studying the logic of the world beyond human symbolism. The data used reveal an interdependency of children and forests that will be referred to as childrenforest in that it continuously generates a network of signs which adults and children themselves often are unable to access or represent. These present absences found in curious practice are crucial for our understanding of what we have overlooked while claiming that the other is known. With that, however, childrenforest cannot be fully grasped. Andrew Pickering’s (Natures Sciences Sociétés, 1(21), 77–83, 2013) notion of islands of stability is utilized to elaborate the ways that childrenforests signal the presence of the seemingly stable configurations of their dynamic becoming. The chapter concludes with a short discussion of the potential areas of curious practice application beyond the ethological and childhood research.

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Series: Springer international handbooks of education
ISSN: 2197-1951
ISSN-E: 2197-196X
ISSN-L: 2197-1951
ISBN: 978-3-319-51949-4
ISBN Print: 978-3-319-67286-1
DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-51949-4_25-1
Host publication: Research Handbook on Childhoodnature : Assemblages of Childhood and Nature Research
Host publication editor: Cutter-Mackenzie, Amy
Malone, Karen
Barratt Hacking, Elisabeth
Type of Publication: A3 Book chapter
Field of Science: 516 Educational sciences
Copyright information: © Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018. This is a post-peer-review, pre-copyedit version of an article published in Research Handbook on Childhoodnature. Springer International Handbooks of Education. The final authenticated version is available online at: