Toward the sociopolitical in science education

Sara Tolbert, Jesse Bazzul

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


In this paper, we explore how Jacques Rancière’s (The ignorant schoolmaster: five lessons in intellectual emancipation. Stanford University Press, Stanford, 1991) notions of radical equality and dissensus reveal horizons for activism and sociopolitical engagement in science education theory, research, and practice. Drawing on Rochelle Gutiérrez’ (J Res Math Educ 44(1):37–68, 2013a. doi:10.5951/jresematheduc.44.1.0037; J Urban Math Educ 6(2):7–19, b) “sociopolitical turn” for mathematics education, we identify how the field of science education can/is turning from more traditional notions of equity, achievement and access toward issues of systemic oppression, identity and power. Building on the conversation initiated by Lorraine Otoide who draws from French philosopher Jacques Rancière to experiment with a pedagogy of radical equality, we posit that a sociopolitical turn in science education is not only imminent, but necessary to meet twenty-first century crises.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)321-330
Number of pages10
JournalCultural Studies of Science Education
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2017


  • Activism
  • Critical pedagogy
  • Critical theory
  • Dissensus
  • Science education
  • Sociopolitical

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies


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