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Paradigm wars, dialogue or dance: Is rapprochement possible and/or desirable?

Luitel, B.C., Settelmaier, E., Pereira, L., Joyce, P., Nhalevilo, E., Cupane, A. and Taylor, P.C. (2009) Paradigm wars, dialogue or dance: Is rapprochement possible and/or desirable? Cultural Studies of Science Education, 4 (3). pp. 529-552.

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In focusing on the Kincheloe and Tobin paper, ‘The Much Exaggerated Death of Positivism,’ this forum explores the hegemony of positivism in the professional practices of a group of educators whose research expertise lies in the fields of science education, mathematics education and leadership education. Responding to the first question, ‘What is your personal/professional experience of the hegemony of positivism?’, four key issues arise: is positivism part of the external world or is it within us (and thus what is our agency)?, the role of positivism as a driver of Western cultural imperialism, dualism as the chief logic of positivism, and the difficulty of responding to positivism from a pluralist perspective. The second question, ‘Is rapprochement between positivism and other paradigms possible and/or desirable without being re-colonised?’, raises a number of key issues that, although relatively new to science education, are of increasing interest to cultural studies researchers keen to embrace alternative research paradigms with which to create culturally inclusive science curricula. The discussants reveal their personal experiences of being marginalised by the hegemony of positivism and give voice to a range of opinions about how best to respond. The integral perspective of spiral dynamics is proposed as a model of paradigm evolution, our fundamental assumptions about modern progress are questioned, and the non-dualist logic of dialectics is explored as a more inclusive rationality for researchers. In the spirit of counter-hegemonic cultural studies, the discussants draw on their personal Buddhist and Hindu perspectives to open new doorways into complex ontological systems lying beyond the simplistic materialism of crypto-positivism. We are given a glimpse of powerful means of generating new insights into the emergent universe (within and without) that an evolving science endeavours to explain.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publisher: Kluwer Academic Publishers
Copyright: © 2009 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.
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