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The characterization of communal knowledge : case studies in knowledge relevant to science and schooling

Dal Pian, Maria Christina (1990) The characterization of communal knowledge : case studies in knowledge relevant to science and schooling. PhD thesis, Institute of Education, University of London.

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This work attempts the task of analysing communal knowledge in relation to schooled knowledge. At one level. the thesis concerns a peculiar method of measuring land (cubarfio) used by peasants in Brazil and their understanding of the transformations of soil. At another level. it attempts to look outwards all the time to some very general issues so as to discuss Questions about the relative \'ah,lation of school knowledge and communal knowledge; the distance between educational discourse on the one hand and the teachers and ordinary people's discourse on the other: together with a discussion of knowledge elicitation, representation and acquisition. The account of the specific communal knowledge described in the thesis is based on a empirical study with adults in a rural community in Brazil and data is quaiirativc. Information is obtained mainly from farm-workers and indigenous primary school teachers. Teachback, in the sense proposed by Pask, is the central precess around which 'conversations' between participants take place. Research in Science Education has very largely treated knowledge from an essentially individual Doint of view. In this thesis. however, knowledge is regarded as a social entity realized in individual discursive action. Knowing becomes being a particiDant in a discourse and to possess knowledge is turned into to be able to operate a certain kind of discursive process. The goal of trying to reach understanding leads the informants to create new explanations, and to think explicitly about the taken-for-granted discourse. This gives the researcher, the possibility of a further level of analysis about the discourse (not just of structures R'ithin the discourse). As an outcome. novel results concerning methods of land measurement serve as an example to place the knowledge of cubacao in relation to historical knowledge structures and the mechanisms of social transmission and reproduction of knowledge.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
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