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Towards an Understanding of Diffractive Readings of Narratives in the Field of Science Education

Kapitel i bok
Författare A. Arvola Orlander
Marie Ståhl
Publicerad i Cultural, Social and Political Prespectives in Science Education
Sidor 139-152
ISBN 978-3-319-61190-7
ISSN 1879-7229
Förlag Springer International Publishing AG
Förlagsort Cham, Switzerland
Publiceringsår 2018
Publicerad vid Institutionen för didaktik och pedagogisk profession
Sidor 139-152
Språk en
Ämnesord A research process study; critical analysis; knowing produced differently; diffractive reading; material feminist theories; the cyborg theory; an onto-epistemological study; Agential cuts; nomadic thinking; intra-activities; becoming with the data; entanglement; in-between; material agency; the opposite of an anthropocentric and positivist perspective; enactment of ethics; ethical responsibility; a bodily affective learning; an embodied view; natural science; a student answer; a classroom argumentation; dichotomies


In this chapter we seek to challenge the positivistic and traditional way of doing research in the field of science education by turning to posthuman approaches to analyse our data. Feeling trapped in doing research where objects are regarded as having inherent boundaries and fixed properties, we have read data with and through a feminist materialist lens. We are curious to understand how posthuman approaches to explore ways of doing research can be mobilized using Karen Barad’s and Donna Haraway’s theories of diffractive reading. Our aim has been to open up the data to diffract it for new images and thereby to trouble the human centred and objective perspectives of doing research. Instead of taking a distance from our objects of research the diffractive reading has meant that we have infiltrated with our data, a student text and an excerpt from a classroom observation. We have allowed the data to influence us as well as the other way around and thus regarded the research objects as equivalent to ourselves in terms of agency. What came out of this way to tackle our research material is partly a different view of ourselves as scientists and the research objects as having agency, a more intrinsic, emotionally influenced and embodied view. We have got hold of our prejudices and exposed them instead of trying to pretend that they do not exist. Thereby we have taken ethical responsibility in this transparency as well as when seeing the “object” as equally active and meaning making as ourselves. Emotions have been brought to the surface and been used, since we cannot pretend that we are a mind without a body as the Cartesian thought stipulates and which natural science is still leaning on. We think that using the diffractive reading tool from a material feminist perspective has given us insights that would not have been possible to get when taking the anthropocentric and positivistic perspective. It has also proven to be a more honest and thereby more ethical alternative compared to the positivistic version. We have got a better scientific description of the world, a view from somewhere that Haraway asks for (1991).

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