Upcoming HBCSE events [24/09/2023 onwards]


Ph.D. thesis defense seminar by Mr. Charudatta Navare

Starts on: Tuesday, 26 September 2023, 2:30:00 pm
Ends on: Tuesday, 26 September 2023, 4:00:00 pm

Venue: Main Building Lecture Room - G1

Coordinator: Dean's Office

Candidate Name:

Mr. Charudatta Navare

Ph.D. Thesis Title:

Dominance hierarchy as a hidden value in biology: A critical discourse analysis


In this thesis, I perform a critical discourse analysis of introductory biology textbooks to uncover the hidden ideologies in seemingly innocent scientific concepts. I show how dominance hierarchy pervades descriptions of concepts at various levels of organisation, from cellular functioning to evolutionary history. Dominance hierarchy ranks the components of natural systems from ‘higher ’ to ‘lower’. At the cellular level, the conceptual metaphor of ‘cell as a factory’ projects the societal inequalities onto the cell with the nucleus as the ‘control centre’ and the cytoplasm as the site of manual labour that ‘executes’ the ‘instructions’ received. On the evolutionary level, the conceptual metaphor of the ‘ladder of life’, discarded explicitly, continues shaping the narrative of evolutionary history implicitly. Despite several strands of empirical research challenging these ‘scientific fairy tales’, textbook representations have continued unabated. I, therefore, attempt to understand the allure of the hierarchical representations by tracing their historical and cultural roots and argue that their appeal could lie in their congruence with our theoretical frameworks, gender ideologies, and stratified structures of our societies. The thesis argues for challenging the reinforcement of social hierarchies through scientific discourse.