Lärande, värderingar och statsvetenskap : Studenters tolkningar av genus- och nationsbegreppet

Sammanfattning: Sociologists and feminist researchers have emphasized the prevalence of taken for granted notions about political concepts. Nation and gender are examples of concepts that are often perceived as non-political and “natural”. Researchers have understood these concepts as related to self-perception, and studies have demonstrated that students tend to perceive gender perspectives as pseudoscientific.From an educational perspective, this raises questions as to how values are involved in students’ learning processes. Over the last 20 years, an increasing number of researchers have characterized conceptual change as affective in nature. However, few empirical studies have put effort into investigating affective aspects of the conceptual change process. This thesis adds to this research discussion by offering an empirically rooted conceptualisation of the value-oriented dimension of the learning process. The thesis is based on three empirical studies that investigate how students interpret tasks challenging them to adopt a critical and structural perspective of ‘nation’ and ‘gender’. Drawing on qualitative analyses of tape-recorded group discussions and written home exams, the thesis argues that students bring in other ideas than those advocated in the specific teaching settings with regard to three topics. Firstly, students express values relating to power, meaning when and how it is legitimate to speak about power. Secondly, students express values that concern how science should be practised. Thirdly, students express values related to identity that revolve around how “I” relate (or not) to the concepts taught in the particular course setting. These results suggest that students enter the classroom with personal ideas and principles of what is “good” or “right” when practising political science, and that values can be seen as a key aspect in understanding the complexities of students’ learning processes in this particular subject area.