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ERIC Number: EJ1152132
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017
Pages: 7
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-1050-8406
Disciplinary Identity as Analytic Construct and Design Goal: Making Learning Sciences Matter
Carlone, Heidi B.
Journal of the Learning Sciences, v26 n3 p525-531 2017
Bent Flyvbjerg (2001), in his book "Making Social Science Matter: Why Social Inquiry Fails and How It Can Succeed Again," argues that social science's aims and methods are currently, and perhaps always will be, ill suited to the type of cumulative and predictive theory that characterizes inquiry and knowledge generation in the natural sciences. If social science continues to emulate natural sciences and its goals of producing stable knowledge across time and space with analytic rationality, it will come up short because the two enterprises are compared based on epistemic qualities that are a mismatch for social science. When social sciences cease imitating natural sciences, Flyvbjerg argues, that other possibilities are seen for the social sciences, pursuing questions, methods, and aims that natural science cannot. In short, social sciences can be strong where "natural sciences are weak" (p. 61). He reorients social sciences using Aristotle's conception of phronesis, a values-driven enterprise, updated with ideas from Foucault, Habarmas, and Nietzsche to include considerations of power. His proposed "phronetic social science" has a fundamentally different aim than the natural sciences--to enact a "value-rationality" that centers issues of power, with aims of analyzing, interpreting, and potentially transforming social activities and institutions. This kind of social science asks the following: Where are we going? Is this desirable? What should be done? Who gains and who loses? By which mechanisms of power? It struck that author as she read the pieces included in this issue that the authors are breaking new ground for the social sciences, forging a way of doing social inquiry that aligns well with Flyvbjerg's phronetic social science. The authors wrestle with disciplinary identity as both analytic construct and design goal, situating identity development and disciplinary practices within interactional, institutional, and historical spheres of power and simultaneously designing learning settings that intentionally disrupt historicized, oppressive narratives about underrepresented groups; science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM); and underrepresented youth as STEM participants. The articles provide excellent models for enacting social science, or a field of learning sciences, "that matters."
Routledge. Available from: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 530 Walnut Street Suite 850, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Tel: 215-625-8900; Fax: 215-207-0050; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A