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"Sociologics" as an analytical framework to examine students’ discourse on socioscientific issues Fountain, Renee-Marie


This study develops and tests the strengths and weaknesses of an analytical framework entitled sociologies to examine students' responses to socioscientific issues. Sociologies (Latour, 1987) is defined as the unpredictable and heterogeneous networks of links and associations that constitute the construction, accumulation, and mobilization of knowledge in the face of controversy. Recognizing the asymmetry of knowledge production, sociologies looks at how some knowledge is rendered more credible, and more powerful, than others. The framework consists of five questions: a) how causes and effects are attributed; b) what points (ideas) are linked to which other; c) what size and strength these links have; d) who the most legitimate spokespersons are; and e) and how all these elements are modified during the controversy. Latour calls the answer to these five questions "sociologies". Under this rubric, the production of knowledge is contentious because knowledge is socially constructed in a world where discourse and politics and knowledge and power are inextricably related. I argue that the framework of sociologies is an improvement upon commonly used analytical frameworks in socioscientific research in education as, unlike previous forms of analysis, it foregrounds the social construction of knowledge (as evidenced in discourse) and highlights the contentious, complex, unpredictable, and dynamic nature of knowledge production prevalent in these issues.

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