Beyond Eurocentrism in science education research: Promises and problematics from a feminist poststructuralist perspective

Year: 1994

Author: Gough, Annette Greenall

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Sandra Harding recently argued that "around the world as in the West, new social movements have challenged the authority of the West to impose its values and standards on peoples with histories and present concerns that are opposed to those of privileged groups in the West". One such challenge comes from feminist critiques of the mechanistic and dualistic views that dominate science and society and which have suggested profound changes in how human relationships with nature are perceived-changes which also have educational implications. Other challenges are forthcoming from the multiple discourses of domination of nature through gender, race, class and colonisation.

Within science, the postcolonial critiques argue that Western science has resulted in partial and distorted accounts of nature and social relations, and that "science educations rarely expose students to systematic analyses of the social origins, traditions, meanings, practices, institutions, technologies, uses, and consequences of the natural sciences that ensure the fully historical character of the results of research". Drawing on the work of people such as Harding, in this paper I explore some of the critiques of Western science and the possibilities of multiple discourses for the problematics that are raised for research in science education, and for the promises. The concern is to explore the poststructuralist argument that "no discourse is innocent of the will to power", but within the practical intent of exploring possibilities for innovative science education research and practice.