The Heroes of Science

  • Michiel van Eijck
  • Wolff-Michael Roth
Chapter
Part of the Cultural Studies of Science Education book series (CSSE, volume 7)

Abstract

This chapter highlights recent work in science education research on representations of scientists in a sample of high school and college textbooks. Drawing on semiotic and cultural–historical activity theoretical frameworks, two analyses are presented. A coarse-grained, quantitative analysis of the prevalence and structure of these representations exhibited bias toward particular scientists’ representations and particular types of texts and inscriptions therein, suggesting a domain-specific rhetorical structure. A fine-grained, qualitative analysis of scientists’ representations revealed that high school and college textbooks represent (a) objects of scientific practice as projected or anticipated independently from human activity; (b) scientists’ individual actions aiming at the creation of non-tangible tools and rules by means of observation, modification, or manipulation of given, tangible objects; (c) scientific practice as isolated due to which the simultaneous belonging to different practices hardly determines the goals of scientists’ actions; and (d) scientists as part of a small community of mainly other scientists who subsequently determine each other’s individual actions. The heroic image of images of scientists emerging from our analysis is discussed in light of persistent problems that are plaguing today’s science education. This opens up a need for a different science education.

Keywords

Scientific Practice Science Curriculum Individual Scientist Science Textbook Stereotypic Image 
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.

References

  1. Allchin, D. (2003). Scientific myth-conceptions. Science Education, 87, 329–351.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Chambers, D. W. (1983). Stereotypic images of the scientist: The draw-a-scientist test. Science Education, 67, 255–265.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Han, J., & Roth, W.-M. (2006). Chemical inscriptions in Korean textbooks: Semiotics of macro- and microworld. Science Education, 90, 173–201.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Jasanoff, S., Markle, G., Peterson, J., & Pinch, T. (Eds.). (2001). Handbook of science and technology studies. Thousand Oaks: Sage.Google Scholar
  5. Knorr-Cetina, K. (1999). Epistemic cultures: How the sciences make knowledge. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  6. Kuhn, T. S. (1970). The structure of scientific revolutions (2nd ed.). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  7. Latour, B. (1987). Science in action: How to follow scientists and engineers through society. Milton Keynes: Open University Press.Google Scholar
  8. Latour, B. (1988). The pasteurization of France. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  9. Lektorsky, V. A. (1984). Subject, object, cognition. Moscow: Progress.Google Scholar
  10. Leontjew, A. N. (1982). Tätigkeit, Bewusstsein, Persönlichkeit [Activity, consciousness, personality]. Köln: Studien zur Kritischen Psychologie.Google Scholar
  11. Mayr, E. (1997). This is biology, the science of the living world. Cambridge: Belknapp Press.Google Scholar
  12. Pickering, A. (1995). The mangle of practice. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  13. Pozzer, L. L., & Roth, W.-M. (2003). Prevalence, function, and structure of photographs in high school biology textbooks. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 40, 1089–1114.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Redfield, P. (1996). Beneath a modern sky: Space technology and its place on the ground. Science, Technology & Human Values, 21, 251–274.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Ritter, B., Coombs, R. F., & Drysdale R. B. (Eds.). (1996). Nelson biology (British Columbia ed.). Scarborough: Nelson Canada.Google Scholar
  16. Roth, W.-M. (2005). Doing qualitative research: Praxis of method. Rotterdam: Sense Publishers.Google Scholar
  17. Roth, W.-M., & Lee, Y.-J. (2007). “Vygotsky’s neglected legacy”: Cultural-historical activity theory. Review of Educational Research, 77, 186–232.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Roth, W.-M., Bowen, G. M., & McGinn, M. K. (1999). Differences in graph-related practices between high school biology textbooks and scientific ecology journals. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 36, 977–1019.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Suzuki, D. (1989). Inventing the future: Reflections on science, technology, and nature. Toronto: Stoddart.Google Scholar
  20. Tobin, K., & Roth, W.-M. (2006). The culture of science education: Its history in person. Rotterdam: Sense Publishers.Google Scholar
  21. van Eijck, M. W., & Roth, W.-M. (2008). Representations of scientists in Canadian high school and college textbooks. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 45, 1059–1082.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Vygotsky, L. S. (1978). Mind in society: The development of higher psychological processes. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  23. Watson, J. D. (1968). The double helix: A personal account of the discovery of the structure of DNA. New York: Atheneum.Google Scholar
  24. Mader, S.S. (Ed.). (2003). Inquiry into life (10th edn). New York: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  25. Miller, K.R., & Levine, J. (Eds.). (1998). Biology. Needham, MA: Prentice Hall.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michiel van Eijck
    • 1
  • Wolff-Michael Roth
    • 2
  1. 1.Eindhoven School of EducationEindhoven University of TechnologyEindhovenThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Griffith Institute for Educational ResearchGriffith UniversityGriffithAustralia

Personalised recommendations