Martin, J. (2018). Ontology matters: A commentary on contribution to cultural historical activity. Cultural Studies of Science Education,13(3), 639-647. Netherlands: Springer Netherlands. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1007/s11422-017-9809-1
This commentary promotes discussion on the imaginary provided by Sanaz Farhangi in her article entitled, Contribution to activity: a lens for understanding students’ potential and agency in physics education. The commentary is concerned with aligning ontological assumptions in research accounts of learning and development with transformative aims. A broad definition of ontology as the theory of existence is preferred. Sociocultural approaches share relational ontology as a common foundation. I agree with scholars elaborating Vygotsky’s Transformative Activist Stance that a relational ontology does not imply activism. However, I argue that relational ontology provides a necessary and sufficient theoretical grounding for intentional transformation. I draw upon positioning theory to elaborate the moral aspects of language use and to illustrate that a theory of being as relational already eliminates the transcendental position. I draw on Farhangi’s article to further the discussion on the necessity and sufficiency of relational ontology and associated grammars in accounting for activism.
School of Education
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