Advertisement

Research in Science Education

, Volume 28, Issue 1, pp 119–132 | Cite as

Sociologics: An analytical tool for examining socioscientific discourse

  • Renée-Marie FountainEmail author
Discourse About the Nature of Science and Scientific Knowledge

Abstract

Latour (1987) introduced the framework of sociologics to study the construction, accumulation, and mobilisation of knowledge in the face of controversy by means of unpredictable and heterogeneous networks. The framework centres around five questions: How are causes and effects attributed? What points (ideas) are linked to which other? What are the size and strength of these links? Who are the most legitimate spokespersons? and How are the elements in a network modified during the controversy? Latour calls the method of deriving answers to these five questions “sociologics”. Recognising the usual asymmetry of knowledge production, sociologics is concerned with how some knowledge is rendered more credible and powerful than others. The production of knowledge is considered contentious because knowledge is socially constructed in a world where discourse, politics, knowledge, and power are inextricably related. I argue that the framework of sociologics extends commonly used analytical frameworks in socioscientific research in education as, unlike many previous forms of analysis, sociologics foregrounds the social construction of knowledge (as evidenced in discourse) and highlights the contentious, complex, unpredictable, and dynamic nature of knowledge production prevalent in these issues.

Keywords

Analytical Framework Knowledge Production Social Construction Toxic Waste Actor Network Theory 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Bernstein, R. J. (1991).The new constellation: The ethical-political horizons of modernity/postmodernity. Cambridge, Mass: MIT.Google Scholar
  2. Fountain, R. M. (1995). Sociologics as an analytical framework to examine students' discourse in socioscientific issues. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of British Columbia, Vancouver.Google Scholar
  3. Fraser, N. (1989).Unruly practices: Power, discourse and gender in contemporary social theory. Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  4. Gaskell, P. J. (1994, August).Assessing STS Literacy: What's rational? Paper presented at the IOSTE Symposium, De Koningshos Veldhouen, Netherlands.Google Scholar
  5. Gaskell, P. J., Fleming, R., Fountain, R., & Ojelel, A. (1992). British Columbia Assessment of Science. 1991. Technical Report III: Socioscientific Issues Component (FCG 188). Canadian Cataloguing in Publication Data (ISBN 0-7726-1653-1).Google Scholar
  6. Latour, B. (1987).Science in action. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  7. Potter, J., & Wetherell, M. (1987).Discourse and social psychology. London: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  8. Roth, W.-M., & McGinn, M. K. (1997). Science in schools and everywhere else: what science educators should know about science and technology studies.Studies in Science Education, 29, 1–44.Google Scholar
  9. Roth, W.-M., & McGinn, M. K. (1998). Knowing, researching, and reporting science education: Lessons from science and technology studies.Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 35, 213–235.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Roth, W.-M., & Lucas, K. B. (1997). From “truth” to “invented reality”: A discourse analysis of high school physics students' talk about scientific knowledge.Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 34, 145–180.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Rouse, J. (1993). Foucault and the natural sciences. In J. Caputo, & M. Yount (Eds.),Foucault and the critique of institutions (pp. 137–162). University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press.Google Scholar
  12. Schwab, J. (1960). The teaching of science as inquiry. In J. Schwab, & P. F. Brandwein (Eds.),The teaching of science. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  13. Solomon, J. (1992). The classroom discussion of science-based social issues presented on television: Knowledge, attitudes and values.International Journal of Science Education, 14, 431–444.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Australian Science Research Association 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Curriculum and InstructionUniversity of WisconsinMadisonUSA

Personalised recommendations