Sociology | Psychology |… Toward a Science of Phenomena

  • Wolff-Michael Roth
Chapter
Part of the Cultural Studies of Science Education book series (CSSE, volume 2)

Abstract

During the late 1980s, having done (neo-) Piagetian and information processing research before, I found radical constructivism and its individualist approach to theorize knowing and learning very fruitful. Soon thereafter, however, when analyzing classroom videotapes featuring students working together on problems, the limits of an individualist approach to thinking and learning became to be apparent to me. In 1992, I published what probably was the first science education paper on the social construction of knowledge in science classrooms (Roth and Roychoudhury 1992). Despite other work on the social construction of knowledge, however, science education remained in the grip of theories that focus on the individual (mind) as the unit of analysis. Even those scholars who used discourse analysis, cultural studies, and Bakhtin’s dialogism as frameworks for understanding events in science classrooms continued to make attributions to individuals and therefore subordinated the new approaches to psychological (constructivist) ways of thinking about knowing.

Following an invitation by Ken Tobin, Yew Jin Lee, SungWon Hwang and I published a piece in which we show how conceptions are the result of complex processes that could not without many presuppositions attributed to individuals, though the current canon in science education does in fact make such attributions (Roth et al. 2008). I also published a review article, in which I show how one arrives at very different attributions for the origin of conceptions and conceptual change if one were to take a discursive psychological perspective (Roth 2008). Both of my articles took a cultural perspective as their starting point, asking at their outset questions that go something like “What does it take to develop a science of misconceptions given a starting point where there is no (psychological, sociological) science?” Yet, rather than leading to the rethinking of traditional positions, the two pieces caused some stomach upsets among those who have invested their lives’ work in the development of conceptual change. It was Ken Tobin’s idea to make the question of a reunification of sociological and psychological perspectives the focus of the Second Springer Forum held in New York at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. The participants were invited to think about how to organize a reunification of the two very different approaches to knowing and learning in science.

Keywords

Science Education Conceptual Change Blind Spot African American Student Science Education Research 
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. Bakhtin, M.M. (1984). Rabelais and his world. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Bakhtin, M.M. (1986). Speech genres and other late essays. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press.Google Scholar
  3. Bakhtin, M. M. [Vološinov, V.N.] (1973). Marxism and the philosophy of language. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Bateson, G. (1972). Steps to an ecology of mind: A revolutionary approach to man’s understanding of himself. New York: Ballantine.Google Scholar
  5. Bourdieu, P. (1992). The practice of reflexiveReflexivity sociology (The Paris workshop). In P. Bourdieu & L.J.D. Wacquant, An invitation to reflexive sociology (pp. 216–260). Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  6. Collins, R. (2004). Interaction ritual chains. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  7. Derrida, J. (1967). L’écriture et la différance. Paris: Seuil.Google Scholar
  8. Derrida, J. (1972). Marges de la philosophie. Paris: Les Éditions de Minuit.Google Scholar
  9. Durkheim, É. (1894). Les règles de la méthode sociologique. Paris: Les Presses Universitaires de France.Google Scholar
  10. Garfinkel, H. (1996). Ethnomethodology’s program. Social Psychology Quarterly, 59, 5–21.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Geertz, C. (1983). Local knowledge: Further essays in interpretive anthropology. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  12. Heidegger, M. (1977). Sein und Zeit. Tübingen: Max Niemeyer.Google Scholar
  13. Heidegger, M. (1985). Unterwegs zur Sprache. Frankfurt: Vittorio Klostermann.Google Scholar
  14. Hegel, G.W.F. (1979). Werke Band 3: Phänomenologie des Geistes. Frankfurt: Suhrkamp-Verlag.Google Scholar
  15. Holzkamp, K. (1992). Die Fiktion administrativer Planbarkeit schulischer Lernprozesse. In K.-H. Braun & K. Wetzel (Eds.), Lernwidersprüche und pädagogisches Handeln (pp. 91–113). Marburg: Verlag Arbeit und Gesellschaft.Google Scholar
  16. Husserl, E. (1939). Die Frage nach dem Ursprung der Geometrie als intentional-historisches Problem. Review internationale de philosophie , 1, 203–225.Google Scholar
  17. Leont’ev, A.N. (1978). Activity, consciousnessConsciousness, personality. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar
  18. Roth, W.-M. (2008). The nature of scientific conceptions: A discursive psychological perspective. Educational Research Review , 3, 30–50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Roth, W.-M. (2009a). Radical uncertainty in scientific discovery work. Science, Technology, & Human Values , 34, 313–336.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Roth, W.-M. (2009b). Specifying the ethnomethodologicalEthnomethodology “what more?” Cultural Studies of Science Education , 4, 1–12.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Roth, W.-M. (in press). Language, learning , context: Talking the talk. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  22. Roth, W.-M., & Barton, A.C. (2004). Rethinking scientific literacyScience literacy. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  23. Roth, W.-M., Hwang, S.W., Lee, Y.J., & Goulart, M.I.M. (2005). Participation, learningLearning, and identity: Dialectical perspectives. Berlin: Lehmanns Media.Google Scholar
  24. Roth, W.-M., & Lee, Y.J. (2007). “Vygotsky’s neglected legacy”: Cultural-historical activity theoryActivity theory. Review of Educational Research , 77, 186–232.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Roth, W.-M., Lee, Y.J., & Boyer, L. (2008). The eternal return: Reproduction and change in complex activity systemActivity systems–The case of salmon enhancement. Berlin: Lehmanns Media.Google Scholar
  26. Roth, W.-M., Lee, Y.J., & Hsu, P-L. (2009). A tool for changing the world: Possibilities of cultural-historicalActivity cultural-historical activity theoryActivity cultural-historical activity theoryActivity theory to reinvigorate science education. Studies in Science Education , 45, 131–167.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Roth, W.-M., Lee, Y.J., & Hwang, S.W. (2008). Culturing conceptions: From first principles. Cultural Studies of Science Education , 3, 231–261.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Roth, W.-M., & Roychoudhury, A. (1992). The social construction of scientific concepts or The concept map as conscription device and tool for social thinking in high schoolSchool science. Science Education , 76, 531–557.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Roth, W.-M., & Tobin, K. (in press). Solidarity and conflict: aligned and misaligned prosody as a transactional resource in intra- and intercultural communication involving power differences. Cultural Studies of Science Education. DOI 10.1007/s11422-009-9203-8Google Scholar
  30. Schutz, A. (1996). Collected papers volume IV. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Publishers.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Smith, D.E. (1990). The conceptual practicesPractice of powerPower. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.Google Scholar
  32. Smith, D.E. (2005). Institutional ethnographyEthnography: Sociology from people for people. Lanham, MD: AltaMira Press.Google Scholar
  33. Vygotsky, L.S. (1978). Mind in society: The development of higher psychological processes. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  34. Vygotsky, L.S. (1986). Thought and language. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wolff-Michael Roth
    • 1
  1. 1.University of VictoriaVictoriaCanada

Personalised recommendations