Qualitative Sociology

, Volume 24, Issue 4, pp 459–481 | Cite as

Of Disciplined Minds and Disciplined Bodies: On Becoming an Ecologist

  • Wolff-Michael RothEmail author
  • G. Michael Bowen


Phenomenologically speaking, the body is the hinge between the sociomaterial world and individual knowing. To illustrate the importance of this hinge in the making of ecologists, we draw on a two-year ethnographic project among field ecologists. Our study shows that becoming an ecologist involves not just the acquisition of skills and conceptual knowledge or just enculturation to a set of practices, such as occurs in university schooling, but also a disciplining of both mind and body, deriving from the physicality of engaging in the fieldwork itself. Becoming an ecologist therefore involves a “disciplining” that mingles the mental and the physical.

enculturation embodiment fieldwork cognition 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Anderson, J. R. (1985). Cognitive psychology and its implications. San Francisco: Freeman.Google Scholar
  2. Bourdieu, P. (1980). Le sens pratique. Paris: Les Éditions de Minuit.Google Scholar
  3. Bourdieu, P. (1997). Méditations pascaliennes [Pascalian meditations]. Paris: Seuil.Google Scholar
  4. Brookhart-Costa, V. (1993). School science as a rite of passage: A new frame for familiar problems. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 30, 649-668.Google Scholar
  5. Collins, H. M. (1982). Tacit knowledge and scientific networks. In B. Barnes & D. Edge (Eds.), Science in context: Readings in the sociology of science (pp. 44-64). Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  6. Dear, P. (1995). Discipline and experience: The mathematical way in the scientific revolution. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  7. Delamont, S., & Atkinson, P. (2001). Doctoring uncertainty: Mastering craft knowledge. Social Studies of Science, 31, 87-107.Google Scholar
  8. Delamont, S., Atkinson, P., & Parry, O. (2000). The doctoral experience: Success and failure in graduate school. London: Falmer.Google Scholar
  9. Finlayson, A. C. (1994). Fishing for truth: A sociological analysis of northern cod stock assessments from 1977-1990. St. John's, Newfoundland: Institute of Social and Economic Research.Google Scholar
  10. Forsythe, D. E. (1993). The construction of work in artificial intelligence. Science, Technology, & Human Values, 18, 460-479.Google Scholar
  11. Foucault, M. (1975). Surveiller et punir: Naissance de la prison. Paris: Gallimard.Google Scholar
  12. Fox-Keller, E. (1983). A feeling for the organism: The life and work of Barbara McClintock. New York: W. H. Freeman.Google Scholar
  13. Gadner, J. (1998). Embodying culture: On the socio-cultural influences on the development of cognitive structures. Anthropological contributions to the concept of embodiment. Evolution and Cognition, 4, 70-80.Google Scholar
  14. Garfinkel, H., Lynch, M., & Livingston, E. (1981). The work of a discovering science construed with materials from the optically discovered pulsar. Philosophy of the Social Sciences, 11, 131-158.Google Scholar
  15. Giddens, A. (1991). Modernity and self-identity: Self and society in the late modern age. Stanford: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  16. Gooding, D. (1990). Experiment and the making of meaning: Human agency in scientific observation and experiment. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers.Google Scholar
  17. Jordan, K., & Lynch, M. (1993). The mainstreaming of a molecular biological tool: A case study of a new technique. In G. Button (Ed.), Technology in working order: Studies of work, interaction, and technology (pp. 162-178). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  18. Kingsland, S. E. (1995). Modeling nature: Episodes in the history of population ecology, 2nd edition. Chicago: University of Chicago.Google Scholar
  19. Latour, B. (1987). Science in action: How to follow scientists and engineers through society. Milton Keynes: Open University Press.Google Scholar
  20. Lave, J., & Wenger, E. (1991). Situated learning: Legitimate peripheral participation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  21. Leinhardt, G., Zaslavsky, O., & Stein, M. K. (1990). Functions, graphs, and graphing: Tasks, learning, and teaching. Review of Educational Research, 60, 1-64.Google Scholar
  22. Mayr, E. (1996). The autonomy of biology: The position of biology among the sciences. The Quarterly Review of Biology, 71, 97-106.Google Scholar
  23. Merleau-Ponty, M. (1945). Phénom´enologie de la perception. Paris: Gallimard.Google Scholar
  24. Pickering, A. (1995). The mangle of practice: Time, agency, and science. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  25. Ricoeur, P. (1990). Soi-même comme un autre. Paris: Seuil.Google Scholar
  26. Roth, W.-M. (1999). The evolution of umwelt and communication. Cybernetics & Human Knowing, 6, 5-23.Google Scholar
  27. Roth, W.-M., & Bowen, G. M. (1999a). Complexities of graphical representations during lectures: A phenomenological approach. Learning and Instruction, 9, 235-255.Google Scholar
  28. Roth, W.-M., & Bowen, G. M. (1999b). Digitizing lizards or the topology of vision in ecological fieldwork. Social Studies of Science, 29, 719-764.Google Scholar
  29. Roth, W.-M., & Bowen, G. M. (2001). Professionals read graphs: A semiotic analysis. Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 32, 159-194.Google Scholar
  30. Roth, W.-M., & Bowen, G. M. (In press). “Creative solutions” and “fibbing results”: Enculturation in field ecology. Social Studies of Science.Google Scholar
  31. Roth, W.-M., Bowen, G. M., & Masciotra, D. (In press). From thing to sign and “natural object”: Toward a genetic phenomenology of graph interpretation. Science, Technology, & Human Values.Google Scholar
  32. Sharrock, W., & Button, G. (1991). The social actor: Social action in real time. In G. Button (Ed.), Ethnomethodology and the human sciences (pp. 137-175). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  33. Tabachneck-Schijf, H. J. M., Leonardo, A. M., & Simon, H. A. (1997). CaMeRa: A computational model for multiple representations. Cognitive Science, 21, 305-350.Google Scholar
  34. Taylor, C. (1993). To follow a rule... In C. Calhoun, E. LiPuma, & M. Postone (Eds.), Bourdieu: Critical perspectives (pp. 45-60). Cambridge, U.K.: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  35. Traweek, S. (1988). Beamtimes and lifetimes: The world of high energy physicists. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  36. Turner, V. W. (1979) [1964]. Betwixt and between: The liminal period in rites de passage. In W. A. Lessa & E. Z. Vogt (Eds.), Reader in comparative religion, 4th edition (pp. 234-243). New York: Harper and Row.Google Scholar
  37. van Gennep, A. (1960) [1906]. The rites of passage (M. B. Vizedom & G. L. Caffee, Trans.). London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.Google Scholar
  38. van Maanen, J. (1988). Tales from the field: On writing ethnography. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  39. Vygotsky, L. S. (1978). Mind in society: The development of higher psychological processes. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  40. Wheeler, M. (1996). From robots to Rothko: The bringing forth of worlds. In M. Boden (Ed.), The philosophy of artificial life (pp. 209-236). Oxford, U.K.: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press, Inc. 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of VictoriaVictoria, BCCanada

Personalised recommendations