representation

Deliberation of the Scientific Evidence for Breastfeeding: Online Comments as Social Representations

María E. Len-Ríos, Manu Bhandari, Yulia S. Medvedeva

This mixed-methods study examines online comments (The Atlantic online, N = 326; NYTimes.com, N = 596) generated by two widely read articles challenging the scientific basis for U.S. government breastfeeding recommendations. The analysis focuses on commenter evaluations of the scientific evidence for breastfeeding. Results demonstrate that commenters socially represented breastfeeding science as a means for manufacturing convenience and also as a process that is prone to flaws in its production and application. Online commenters discussed their personal experiences (42%) with breastfeeding more than its evidence base (16%). Personal and social experiences were used as filters to judge the merits of scientific arguments.

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Drama and the representation of affect – structures of feeling and signs of learning

Anton Franks

The way in which school students represent affective aspects of human relationships in drama and what this reveals about learning in drama is the focus of this paper. Such an enquiry traverses the borders between affect, intellect and physicality. Affect and its representation in drama have been themes in the history of drama and theatre and is a current concern in the field of applied theatre and drama. Writers on drama in schools have hitherto been mostly concerned with affect in terms of feelings experienced and emotions represented by students participating in drama. There has, however, been little theorisation of what students’ representation of affective human relations might reveal about the complexity of learning processes involved. Cultural theories of representation and learning are related to an example, drawn from field notes, of school student drama in which students present a stylised representation of a relationship. Because affect is intimately connected with both the bodilyness and modes of representation in drama, multimodal social semiotic analysis will be used as one component of a framework to draw attention to the body as a principal material and tool for making meaning in drama. Theoretically, explanations of learning will be taken from the work of Vygotsky, who maintained a lifelong interest in both drama and learning and the relationship between the two. Concepts taken from the cultural theories of Raymond Williams are also referred to – specifically to the ways in which cultural activity and artefacts represent ‘structures of feeling’.

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Fracking in the UK press: Threat dynamics in an unfolding debate

Rusi Jaspal, Brigitte Nerlich

Shale gas is a novel source of fossil fuel which is extracted by induced hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking”. This article examines the socio-political dimension of fracking as manifested in the UK press at three key temporal points in the debate on the practice. Three newspaper corpora were analysed qualitatively using Thematic Analysis and Social Representations Theory. Three overarching themes are discussed: “April–May 2011: From Optimism to Scepticism”; “November 2011: (De-)Constructing and Re-Constructing Risk and Danger”; “April 2012: Consolidating Social Representations of Fracking”. In this article, we examine the emergence of and inter-relations between competing social representations, discuss the dynamics of threat positioning and show how threat can be re-construed in order to serve particular socio-political ends in the debate on fracking.

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From the wizard to the doubter: Prototypes of scientists and engineers in fiction and non-fiction media aimed at Dutch children and teenagers

Baldwin Van Gorp, Els Rommes, Pascale Emons

The aim of this paper is to gain insight into the prototypical scientists as they appear in fiction and non-fiction media consumed by children and teenagers in the Netherlands. A qualitative-interpretive content analysis is used to identify seven prototypes and the associated characteristics in a systematic way. The results show that the element of risk is given more attention in fiction than in non-fiction. Also, eccentric scientists appear more often in fiction. In non-fiction, the dimension useful/useless is more important. Furthermore, fictional scientists are loners, although in practice scientists more often work in a team. In both fiction and non-fiction, the final product of the scientific process gets more attention than the process itself. The prototype of the doubter is introduced as an alternative to the dominant representations because it represents scientists and engineers in a more nuanced way.

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