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Values in political science students' contextualizations of nationalism
Södertörn University, Stockholm, Sweden.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Education.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Education.
2015 (English)In: Journal of political science education, ISSN 1551-2177, Vol. 11, no 2, 126-140 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Recent research on conceptual change has argued that it is insufficient to assume that prior knowledge is the only aspect relevant in order to explain the conceptual change process. In addition, “warm constructs” such as emotions, epistemological beliefs, and values have been proposed to play a determinative role. In this study, we aim to further the understanding of the qualitative aspects of such constructs. By investigating how 20 science students interpret Michael Billig’s critical theory of nationalism in written exam papers, we explore how values are involved in university students’ meaning making of nationalism. The results indicate that students in different ways bring alternative values, such as togetherness, pride, and personal identity, in their reasoning, and these become a significant aspect of their meaning making in political science. This suggests that the students enter the classroom with their own ideas and principles of what is “good” or “right” when “practicing political science.” The study thus provides an example of how conceptual change involves accepting prescriptions of a certain intellectual activity.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Taylor & Francis, 2015. Vol. 11, no 2, 126-140 p.
Keyword [en]
values, contextualization, warm conceptual change, nationalism
National Category
Pedagogy
Research subject
Education
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-102701DOI: 10.1080/15512169.2015.1016034Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-84929466226OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-102701DiVA: diva2:712667
Funder
Swedish Research Council
Available from: 2014-04-16 Created: 2014-04-16 Last updated: 2016-01-14Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Lärande, värderingar och statsvetenskap: Studenters tolkningar av genus- och nationsbegreppet
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Lärande, värderingar och statsvetenskap: Studenters tolkningar av genus- och nationsbegreppet
2014 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Alternative title[en]
Learning, values and political science : Students’ interpretations of nation and gender
Abstract [en]

Sociologists and feminist researchers have emphasized the prevalence of taken for granted notions about political concepts. Nation and gender are examples of concepts that are often perceived as non-political and “natural”. Researchers have understood these concepts as related to self-perception, and studies have demonstrated that students tend to perceive gender perspectives as pseudoscientific.

From an educational perspective, this raises questions as to how values are involved in students’ learning processes. Over the last 20 years, an increasing number of researchers have characterized conceptual change as affective in nature. However, few empirical studies have put effort into investigating affective aspects of the conceptual change process. This thesis adds to this research discussion by offering an empirically rooted conceptualisation of the value-oriented dimension of the learning process. The thesis is based on three empirical studies that investigate how students interpret tasks challenging them to adopt a critical and structural perspective of ‘nation’ and ‘gender’. Drawing on qualitative analyses of tape-recorded group discussions and written home exams, the thesis argues that students bring in other ideas than those advocated in the specific teaching settings with regard to three topics. Firstly, students express values relating to power, meaning when and how it is legitimate to speak about power. Secondly, students express values that concern how science should be practised. Thirdly, students express values related to identity that revolve around how “I” relate (or not) to the concepts taught in the particular course setting. These results suggest that students enter the classroom with personal ideas and principles of what is “good” or “right” when practising political science, and that values can be seen as a key aspect in understanding the complexities of students’ learning processes in this particular subject area.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Education, Stockholm University, 2014. 72 p.
Series
Doktorsavhandlingar från Institutionen för pedagogik och didaktik, 29
Keyword
conceptual change, values, student learning, political science, higher education, nation, gender
National Category
Pedagogy
Research subject
Education
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-102703 (URN)978-91-7447-908-9 (ISBN)
Public defence
2014-06-10, Lilla hörsalen, Naturhistoriska riksmuseet, Frescativägen 40, Stockholm, 10:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Funder
Swedish Research Council
Note

At the time of the doctoral defense, the following papers were unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 1: Accepted. Paper 2: Accepted. Paper 3: Submitted.

Available from: 2014-05-19 Created: 2014-04-16 Last updated: 2014-05-14Bibliographically approved
2. Normativa aspekter av individers begreppsbildning: Hur gymnasieelever och studenter skapar och förhåller sig till idéer om genus och nation
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Normativa aspekter av individers begreppsbildning: Hur gymnasieelever och studenter skapar och förhåller sig till idéer om genus och nation
2014 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Alternative title[en]
Normative aspects of conceptual change : How students create and relate to ideas about gender and nation
Abstract [en]

The cognitive models that research on conceptual change has generated have been the subject of criticism, suggesting that these reflect an unrealistic view of learning as an overly “cold” and isolated process. Accordingly, representatives of this criticism suggest that research on conceptual change should investigate to what extent the cold cognition relates to “warm” affective constructs. In the present thesis, the warmth is not considered as prior to conceptual change, but is inferred from the very process of conceptual change itself. The aim is to investigate and describe how this warmth – in terms of normativity – is expressed in conceptual change and how individuals, in these processes, emerge as subjects in their interchange with the environment. This is done by exploring what students do when they make meaning of gender and nation in interviews and exam papers. The results show that the students mainly relate to two different norm-systems, including six normative aspects of conceptual change. The first system includes the goal to challenge or emancipate, the means to problematize, and engagement in the interviews or exams. Furthermore, it includes critical theory as an ideal, social structures and power as values, and me as a social being and actions as part of a tradition as what to make meaning of. The second system includes the goal to preserve, the means to claim how it “is”, and engagement in the interviews or exams. Furthermore, it includes psychological/biological reductionism as an ideal, essences and a natural order as values, and me as an individual and actions as an outcome of intentions as what to make meaning of. By understanding what the students do as interfering with these normative aspects, it becomes possible to understand them as negotiating norms that are brought to the fore. With this, “coldness” appears to be a misleading epithet of conceptual change. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Institutionen för pedagogik och didaktik, Stockholms universitet, 2014
Series
Doktorsavhandlingar från Institutionen för pedagogik och didaktik, 33
Keyword
Warm conceptual change, normativity, contextualization, intentional analysis, gender, nation, upper secondary school students, university students
National Category
Pedagogy
Research subject
Educational Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-108309 (URN)978-91-7649-004-4 (ISBN)
Public defence
2014-11-26, Nordenskiöldsalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Svante Arrhenius väg 12, Stockholm, 13:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

At the time of the doctoral defense, the following papers were unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 1: Submitted. Paper 2: Accepted. Paper 3: Submitted.

Available from: 2014-11-04 Created: 2014-10-20 Last updated: 2014-11-21Bibliographically approved

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