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School science and fields of professional science and technology appear to be cooperatively-enmeshed in a global economic system prioritizing enrichment of few capitalists while compromising wellbeing of many individuals, societies and environments. Governments and extra-national entities like the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development promote strategic (non-)intervention in markets aimed at maximizing private profit, partly facilitated by externalization of personal, social and environmental costs. A major mechanism of this system appears to be creation of elastic and enthusiastic consumer desires – particularly among the minority with few needs and who may repeatedly ignore problems associated with commodities. School science (including through Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics education) appears to be contributing to such consumerism. Fields of science are, for example, portrayed as overly systematic, efficient, unbiased – and unproblematic regarding harms to individuals, societies and environments. Learners also may become alienated from opportunities to self-determine perspectives and practices important to them and their communities. Drawing, in part, from liberatory pedagogy, this chapter features the case of a radical science teacher whose uses of actor-network theory to promote student-led research-informed and negotiated actions to address critical socio-scientific problems seem to counter tendencies towards consumerism and associated potential personal, social and environmental harms.


School of Education

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Book Chapter

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