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ERIC Number: EJ1004448
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013-Mar
Pages: 9
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 16
ISSN: ISSN-0258-2236
Teaching Political Science to First-Year University Students: Challenging "Taxi-Rank Analysis"
Niven, Penelope
Perspectives in Education, v31 n1 p40-48 Mar 2013
This paper explores the situated nature of the epistemological values of a social science discipline as it finds expression in a particular department. Although it explores Becher and Trowler's anthropological conception of disciplinary "territories" and tribes ([1989]/2001) it finds deeper resonances in Trowler's more recent notion of "teaching and learning regimes" (2009). It begins to identify some of the regimes that characterise one Political Science department but discovers that these are unstable and diverse, suggesting that, in practice, there are very few unifying "tribal" values or uncontested "territorial" practices at work in this context. The study offers these observations on the basis of an ethnographic account of one intellectual community doing the work of inducting first-year students into a new discipline. It has a particular focus on lecturers' perceptions of the resources and capabilities of beginning students, describing some of the lecturers' frustrations with early students' literacy practices. These are metaphorically represented by the idea of "taxi rank analysis", that is, many new students' tendency to emotive opinions based in experiential, local knowledge rather than the more guarded, grounded analyses of academic Political Science. Finally, the study considers some of the implications these descriptions could have for more responsive teaching and learning regimes in the social sciences. Some examples are offered in the departmental narratives recorded in this study. (Contains 3 endnotes.)
Perspectives in Education. Faculty of Education, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein 9301, South Africa. Fax: +27-51-401-7044; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A