From science wars to transdisciplinarity: the inescapability of the neuroscience, biology and sociology of learning

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Colleges, School and Institutes


In this paper we begin to explore how knowledges being generated in bioscience might be brought into productive articulation with the Sociology of Education, considering the potential for emerging transdisciplinary, ‘biosocial’ approaches to enable new ways of researching and understanding pressing educational issues. In this paper, as in our current research, we take learning as our focus. Our work brings together collaborators from across fields: sociology of education; molecular biology and biochemistry; cognitive neuroscience; fMRI imaging; and EEG. Through the paper we explore the generative potential of an encounter between life sciences and sociology of education. Through consideration of the conceptual and methodological elements of our ‘Synchrony in Learning’ research and engagement with our pilot experimental approach, our research is suggesting that our central concept, learning, is undergoing metamorphosis, challenging us to understand learning as a phenomenon produced through the intra-action of a multiplicity of forces and processes.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)881-899
Number of pages19
JournalBritish Journal of Sociology of Education
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 28 Aug 2020


  • Pedagogy, biochemistry, learning, neuroscience, transdisciplinarity