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Values and competing frameworks in conceptual change in social science
School of Education, Birmingham University, UK.
Graduate School of Education & Information studies, UCLA, USA..
Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Spain.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Centre for Teaching and Learning in the Social Sciences (CeSam).
2012 (English)Conference paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]


This paper discusses conceptual change in the Social sciences, addressing in particular issues of values and implications for teaching. The paper is a product of a symposium organised in September 2011 in Stockholm where researchers in the disciplines of economics, politics and sociology presented and discussed empirical studies on conceptual change in these domains. The current paper is a theoretical discussion which draws on the empirical evidence presented in the symposium. We concentrate on evidence from two studies. First, a study by César López examined conceptions of ‘Nation’ held by students in Spain. A second study by Thomas Philip examined the willingness of pre-service teachers in California to change their conception of the relationship between education and employability. In both cases, students’ sense of belonging and purpose appeared to be an important barrier to conceptual change.

Our main focus is on the way in which both these examples may be understood as challenges to ‘Master Narratives’ in Social Science. These narratives combine sets of descriptions, explanations and judgements to provide a coherent ways of seeing the social world. Descriptive categories (such as ‘nation’ or ‘education’) carry within them implicit judgements about the worth of the category (for instance whether nationhood or education should be seen as intrinsically good/bad, problematic/unproblematic) as well as implicit explanations of how the social world operates. The challenge for conceptual change in these circumstances is a need for simultaneous change in description, explanation and judgement. We discuss this challenge in the light of evidence provided by these two studies and we conclude with some implications for teaching in social science. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
Values, competing frameworks, conceptual change, social science
National Category
Social Sciences
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-85030OAI: diva2:582361
8th Conceptual Change Conference, European Association for Learning and Instruction, Trier, Germany, 1-4 September 2012.
Available from: 2013-01-04 Created: 2013-01-04

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Lundholm, Cecilia
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