Carter, L. (2014). The elephant in the room: Science education, neoliberalism and resistance. L. Bencze, S. Alsop. Activist Science and Technology Education 23-36. The Netherlands: Springer. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-007-4360-1_2
In this chapter, I examine the place of political discourse in science education, which Erminia Pedretti and Joanne Nazir (Sci Educ 95(4):601–626, 2011) acknowledge has been accorded very “limited” study (p. 618). Specifically, I review the pervasive metadiscourse of neoliberalism, which is now the commonsense way many of us interpret, live in, and understand the world. Exposing and scrutinizing neoliberalism not only enhances the quality of our theorizing about the underdone political in science education, it also facilitates our attempts to develop better science education. I draw a link between neoliberalism and activism by foregrounding two very significant political moments (both as momentary events that were also momentous turning points) that took place some 30 years apart. Firstly, Michel Foucault’s lectures to the Colle`ge de France in 1978 and 1979 on biopolitics and governmentality, and secondly, perhaps the better known Occupy Wall Street protests that began during September 2011 in Zuccotti Park in New York City. I finish by drawing out some implications for activism/resistance in science education.
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