Vart tog behaviorismen vägen? Social responsivitet mellan barn och vuxen, hund och människa.

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (monograph)

Abstract

This thesis studies how humans and other social responsive animals can meet and get together as companion species and what role radical behaviorist B F Skinner’s learning theory and operant conditioning possibly can play in this.

Drawing from theories of discourse and discourse analysis, social responsivity and companion species, the thesis analyzes what happens with Skinner’s learning theory when it migrates from one educative context to another. How is it practiced, advocated, problematized or refused? What, if anything, do different discourses about children, dogs and pupils has to do with this?

Based on a variety of material, such as curricula for the elementary school in Sweden, newspaper articles and debates, official reports of The Swedish government, textbooks, lectures, blogposts and special courses for on the one hand parents with young and demanding children and on the other dog owners, the study examines and uncover various conceptions of Skinner’s learning theory and educative relations based on operant conditioning.

It proves that there are distinct differences in how the theory is understood and described. In some contexts it is rejected because it is said to be old, outdated and associated with hierarchical relations, use of punishment and control. In other contexts there can be completely different discourses about the learning theory: some talks about it as to wimpy and ingratiating and therefor useless for anyone that wants to establish educative relations based on fixed rules and clear boundaries, other has experienced it as a strong, liberating and even empowering method for establishing relations between humans and dogs, where both parts can and are supposed to take initiatives.

By making this contradictory conceptions and apprehensions visible, and intelligible, the study also aims to destabilize the use of what can be described as straw man arguments in the educational debate about operant conditioning and Skinners learning theory.

Details

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Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Educational Sciences
  • Sociology

Keywords

Original languageSwedish
QualificationDoctor
Supervisors/Assistant supervisor
Award date2019 Apr 26
Place of PublicationLund
Publisher
  • Lund University, Faculty of Social Sciences
Print ISBNs 978-91-88899-19-4
Electronic ISBNs978-91-88899-20-0
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Mar 29
Publication categoryResearch

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