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The outsider within: Giftedness and geekiness as potential signifiers of belonging in science education

Research project The purpose of the project is to explore the complex of stratifying mechanisms involved in reproducing in/exclusion within natural science subjects and mathematics.

The purpose of the project is to explore the complex of stratifying mechanisms involved in reproducing in/exclusion within natural science subjects and mathematics.

Head of project

Project overview

Project period:

2019-01-01 2020-12-31

Funding

Umeå University

Participating departments and units at Umeå University

Department of Education

Research subject

Pedagogy

Project description

The purpose of the project is to explore the complex of stratifying mechanisms involved in reproducing in/exclusion within natural science subjects and mathematics. STEM disciplines are in many senses highly valued in the contemporary society and seen as important for the 'welfare society' (Persson, 2010), a potential 'insider' position (as signalled by passion or attainment) is not necessarily unproblematic for the individual, in that such 'inside-ness' can also be associated with 'social awkwardness' (Mendick 2006, deWitt et al. 2013). I focus on two 'figures' (Braidotti, 2011); the 'gifted' student (Callahan & Hertberg-Davis 2013) and the 'geek' (Bell 2013), to un-pack in/exclusion at work in STEM. While these figures resemble each other–e.g. in that they are endorsed or even celebrated in some contexts, while stigmatised in others–they are not identical. A consideration of both figures will therefore provide richer empirical data and potential for a more nuanced analysis.