The unlikely scientists: Exploring what has enabled students from under-represented groups to continue to higher education science studies
Research Project , 2021

The proposed project takes a novel approach to understanding processes of inclusion and exclusion within science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) by focusing on students from under-represented groups who do participate in higher education STEM.
The purpose of the project is to contribute to the understanding of more equitable STEM-education practices, by exploring what has enabled students from under-represented groups to continue to higher education STEM-educations. The project is carried out as two sub-studies, where the first one focuses on the students’ experiences and the second one utilises the findings from the first in a participatory research project that analyses and develops equitable science education practices. The project draws on Archer et al.’s (2015) development of the concept ‘science capital’ (based in Bourdieu’s social reproduction theory) in combination with an intersectional, post-structural understanding of social categories (cf. Phoenix 2006). In order to allow for a more refined analysis of the workings of inclusion and exclusion in science classrooms in relation to the different dimensions of ‘science capital’ the project is also informed by a pragmatic approach to meaning-making. By letting science identities research directly influence a participatory research study the project takes a novel approach to didactics and is also able to provide a more fine-grained understanding of disciplinary-specific identity work.


Anders Johansson (contact)

Senior Lecturer at Chalmers, Communication and Learning in Science, Engineering Education Research - EER (Chalmers)


McGill University

Montreal, Canada

Stockholm University

Stockholm, Sweden

Uppsala University

Uppsala, Sweden


Swedish Research Council (VR)

Project ID: 2018-04985
Funding Chalmers participation during 2021

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