Browsing by Subject "common sense"

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  • Järvinen, Katriina (2004)
    My research subject was how parents view the relation between knowledge and common sense when raising children. I studied the subject from the point of view of rhetorical social psychology. The study was based on the dilemmatic nature of thinking, which means that a person often ends up talking against one of his values while defending another. I was interested in if the parents under my study experienced a conflict between knowledge and common sense and how a possible dilemma was dealt with in argumentation. In the theoretical part I examined discussions considering the concept of common sense and anti-scientific thinking. I also took a look at the history of Finnish upbringing. I made a connection between the resent discussion about the parents high education in relation to the distress of their children and the tradition of viewing scientific knowledge as some kind of a threat to common sense. My empiric source material was the interviews of 21 parents living in the capital area. In the interviews I used the method of qualitative attitude research. The parents were commenting on seven different sentences with claims, which were formed using research literature and views that have appeared in public discussion. The subject of the analysis was the argumentative speech produced by the interviewees. In the analysis I focused mainly on the processes of arguments and on how the dilemmatic nature of the thoughts provoked by the claims was dealt with. The interviewees were able to consider how their views could be questioned and they used various rhetorical methods in their arguments. A dilemma arose between knowledge and common sense but rhetorical methods led rather to approval of expertise in bringing up of children, than disapproval. Also a picture of the 21st century's sensible bringing up of children was formed, based on the source material. The 'love and limits'-upbringing, as I call it, can be interpreted as a taking of an attitude to the views of previous generations. The underlining of love and respect in relation to the child, that was eminent in the source material, could be interpreted as a counter argument to the discipline and humiliation culture that prevailed until the 1950 -60's and the underlining of limits as a counter argument to the free upbringing of the 60 - 70's. My interviewees considered the balancing of work and family life as the biggest problem of modern parents. My primary sources were the works of Michael Billig (rhetorical social psychology and qualitative attitude research), the works of Kari Vesala and Teemu Rantanen (qualitative attitude research), Benjamin Spock's 'The Common Sense Book Of Baby And Child Care' (the dilemma of knowledge and common sense in bringing up of children) and Janne Kivivuori's book 'Paha tieto' (anti-scientific thinking).