Exploring the Availability of Student Scientist Identities within Curriculum Discourse: An anti-essentialist approach to gender-inclusive science
This article takes an anti-essentialist approach to the gendered construction of the science curriculum and its exclusivity. Drawing on post-structuralist theory, it examines the student subject positions that are generated within the dominant discourses and practices of curriculum science. A critical discourse analysis of student interview talk demonstrates the importance of both gender and ethnicity in the production of, or rejection of, scientist identities. While hegemonic masculinity can provide comfortable scientist identities for some males, femininity is less compatible with physical scientist subjectivities, although the 'otherness' of ethnicity can provide exceptions to this. Meanwhile, constructivist discourses of science, more often associated with biology, offer the possibility of a wider range of student scientist identities that transcend masculine/feminine dualisms. This approach to gender and science not only explains why physical science remains the preserve of a largely male elite without resorting to essentialism, but also offers evidence that wider inclusivity requires reconfiguration of the nature of science in the curriculum.
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