Jonathan Langdon

Canada Research Chair in Sustainability and Social Change Leadership

Tier 2 - 2017-11-01
St. Francis Xavier University
Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council


Research involves

Studying social movement learning, especially with regard to sustainability.

Research relevance

This research will contribute to the rise and ongoing understanding of social movements addressing climate change and other sustainability issues.

Confronting Contemporary Challenges in Sustainability Through Translocal Learning

Translocal learning is an approach to solving complex global challenges, such as climate change or poverty. It is when groups at the local level learn from each other and share their knowledge with other like-minded groups.  Translocal learning can lead to change on a larger scale by allowing locally acting groups to maintain their unique culture and structure while nurturing global connections.

Dr. Jonathan Langdon, Canada Research Chair in Sustainability and Social Change Leadership, is looking at how translocal learning spaces are effecting change. Translocal learning spaces contribute to sharing knowledge and building momentum for change. They can also offer local groups a way to connect with other movements facing similar challenges.

Around the world, in cities and rural areas, people are working together to tackle the sustainability challenges that confront them. Yet their movements often seem isolated—especially when viewed in the context of the bigger threat of global climate change. As a dynamic and horizontal learning style, translocal learning contrasts starkly with the current lack of progress in climate change leadership at the global, multilateral level.

Langdon and his research team hope that documenting this ongoing horizontal learning will help them understand how social movements learn from one another without losing sight of the particularities of their own struggles. Their findings will also help us understand how sustainability efforts at the local level can confront climate change and other complex challenges.