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Revisiting postliminal variation in threshold concepts: issues of unexpected transformation and legitimisation

Calduch, I.; Rattray, J.

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Authors

I. Calduch



Abstract

Within the Threshold Concepts Framework, ‘postliminal variation’ has been defined as the variation in the point and state of exit into a new conceptual space, and the epistemological and ontological terrain encountered from that point onwards. However, in the extensive published literature on threshold concepts, we find many cases in which its practical application has been utilised in a reductionist way, ignoring or omitting said variation, and treating mastery of threshold concepts as if they had a predetermined process, being the same, or very similar, for all students. In this paper, we aim to highlight the danger of ignoring the variation in the threshold concept framework and emphasise the potential usefulness of unexpected transformations as part of a knowledge creation process. In addition, we raise the question of our awareness of what ways of thinking, practising and being we are privileging in our identification and reinforcement of disciplinary threshold concepts and transformations. As a consequence of these discussions, we hope to remind the reader of the original assertion that threshold concepts are always epistemologically informed and are not universal or static entities, but rather they are provisional, contestable, and situated.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Mar 16, 2021
Online Publication Date Apr 2, 2021
Publication Date 2022
Deposit Date Apr 14, 2021
Publicly Available Date Oct 2, 2022
Journal Studies in Higher Education
Print ISSN 0307-5079
Electronic ISSN 1470-174X
Publisher Taylor and Francis Group
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 47
Issue 7
Pages 1453-1463
DOI https://doi.org/10.1080/03075079.2021.1910651
Public URL https://durham-repository.worktribe.com/output/1244330

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