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This paper explores how geographies of place and familial relationships influence the formation of ‘science capital’ and a ‘science identity’, which are widely considered influential to sustained engagement in the sciences. Drawing on interviews with 45 Year 8 students from two diverse locales in Australia, we analyse science-related forms of cultural and social capital with a focus on place-based knowledges which may help explain differential patterns of engagement among young people. First, the paper recounts recent theoretical and empirical work on science capital and science identity, extending this scholarship by considering the role of family and place in science knowledge acquisition. Second, we present the study concentrating on student lifeworlds and familial relationships as identity resources, exploring the differences in terms of place. To conclude, we critique the data with attention to implications for teachers’ pedagogy, considering the role of ‘science capital pedagogies’ and a ‘Funds of Knowledge’ approach to science education.


Institute for Learning Sciences and Teacher Education

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Journal Article

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