Karl Maton y Y. J. Doran, 2017: "Condensation: A translation device for revealing complexity of knowledge practices in discourse,
part 2—clausing and sequencing", Onomázein Número Especial SFL, 77-110.
Complexity of knowledge practices is undertheorized in education research because
knowledge is often conceived cognitively. Legitimation Code Theory conceptualizes this complexity
in terms of ‘semantic density’, which explores how meanings are interrelated within
practices. This concept is becoming widely enacted in research, a flexibility that raises the
question of identifying ‘semantic density’ in specific objects of study. This is the second of
two papers that offer a ‘translation device’ for identifying ‘epistemic-semantic density’ (where
condensed meanings are formal definitions or empirical descriptions) in English discourse.
The first paper (this issue) provided tools for exploring how individual words reveals different
strengths of epistemic-semantic density. Those concepts revealed different degrees of complexity
of knowledge. This paper outlines tools for exploring how the ways actors combine
words reveals ‘epistemological condensation’ or strengthening of epistemic-semantic density.
It provides typologies for identifying different kinds of ‘clausing’ and ‘sequencing’ and describes
how these types manifest varying degrees of increasing complexity. These concepts
reveal different kinds of knowledge-building. Two contrasting examples, from a secondary
school History classroom and a scientific research article, are analysed to illustrate the insights into complexity offered by the tools outlined in both papers.