Lay theories in comparative research

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The paper addresses the theoretical concept and methodological usefulness of 'lay theories' for conducting comparative research. 'Lay knowledge' is a well-researched concept particularly in medicine and health (e.g. Williams & Popay 2006), even if often regarded as an 'obstacle' that needs to be overcome in order to spread 'proper' scientific, medical knowledge. Critical studies within medicine have pointed to the disadvantages of neglecting lay knowledges, and the negative consequences from the growing distance between modern medicine and the lay populace (Williams & Calnan 1996). Scholars within this strand of research maintain that the exclusive focus on 'experts' ignores the social nature of humans and human creativity (Popay et al. 1998). Not only regarding health, but also many other processes and knowledge bodies in the social world, the lay populace harbors their own theories of 'how things work'. From a heuristic point of view, lay people with translocal experiences, i.e. people who are in a position to compare, have the undeniable advantage of being able to test their theories in different settings. However, there is a lack of research that systematically assesses and compares translocal lay comparisons. The paper will explore the productivity of this approach by drawing on two empirical examples: Swedish youth's comparative experiences with their Chinese peers' use of information and communication technologies; and Chinese parents' comparative experiences with different systems of schooling (China, Sweden, Germany).
StatusPublished - 2017
Evenemang9th Annual ADI Conference: Asia in Circulations - Copenhagen University, Copenhagen, Danmark
Varaktighet: 2017 juni 262017 juni 28


Konferens9th Annual ADI Conference

Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ)

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