Everyday science learning and equity: Mapping the contested terrain
Out-of-school settings promise to broaden participation in science to groups that are often left out of school-based opportunities. Increasing such involvement is premised on the notion that science is intricately tied to “the social, material, and personal well-being” of individuals, groups, and nations—indicators and aspirations that are deeply linked with understandings of equity, justice, and democracy. In this essay, the authors argue that dehistoricized and depoliticized meanings of equity, and the accompanying assumptions and goals of equity-oriented research and practice, threaten to render the concept useless. This risk is exacerbated by the nearly ubiquitous but also often cursory ways in which discourses of equity are employed. The authors seek to resuscitate the term by analyzing the inadequacies, as well as the implicit assumptions they carry, so as to sharpen our conception of equity and to reveal possibilities for future research. In particular, they attend to how different individuals and groups might participate and author themselves in everyday settings of science learning toward more equitable ends. Given space constraints, they do not aim to be comprehensive in their treatment; rather, they elaborate three interrelated sets of issues that are foundational for how equity can be realized through everyday science and, reflexively, for considering the role that science (everyday or otherwise) could play in a more equitable, just, and democratic society
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