Loughborough University
Leicestershire, UK
LE11 3TU
+44 (0)1509 263171
Loughborough University

Loughborough University Institutional Repository

Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: https://dspace.lboro.ac.uk/2134/21830

Title: Re-thinking science capital: the role of ‘capital’ and ‘identity’ in mediating students’ engagement with mathematically demanding programmes at university
Authors: Black, Laura
Hernandez-Martinez, Paul
Issue Date: 2016
Publisher: © Oxford University Press (OUP)
Citation: BLACK, L. and HERNANDEZ-MARTINEZ, P., 2016. Re-thinking science capital: the role of ‘capital’ and ‘identity’ in mediating students’ engagement with mathematically demanding programmes at university. Teaching Mathematics and Its Applications, 35 (3), pp. 131-143.
Abstract: A wide body of literature has highlighted how high achievement in mathematics in secondary school does not necessarily motivate students to both choose and succeed on mathematically demanding programmes at post compulsory level. The recent Enterprising Science project (Archer et al, 2015) and before that, the ASPIRES project (Archer et al, 2013), have both highlighted that access to science capital is perhaps more important than prior achievement in shaping students’ aspirations and their future trajectories in STEM. In this paper, we critically analyse the notion of science capital and its role in mediating students’ choice of and experience of studying mathematically demanding degree programmes at university. Drawing on data from the TransMaths project, we present two cases – Stacey and Elton – who are both enrolled on the same ‘Mathematics for Physics’ course at university. We show that although both discuss access to science capital in narrating their choice of degree, they do so in different ways and this invariably interplays with different forms of identification with ‘Mathematics for Physics’. We conclude that there is a need to re-conceptualise science capital so that the dialectic relationship between its exchange and use value is theorized more fully. Whilst some students may access science capital as a means to accumulate capital (e.g. qualifications) for its own sake (exchange value), others appear to recognize the ‘use value’ of science learning and knowledge and this produces different forms of engagement with science (and mathematics). We therefore, argue that authoring oneself in the name of a STEM identity is crucial in mediating how one perceives science capital. Finally, we argue that mathematics should be a central part of this framework since it significantly contributes to the exchange value of science as a form of capital (especially Physics) but it also offers use value in scientific labour (e.g. in modelling scientific problems).
Description: This paper is in closed access until July 2017.
Sponsor: The TranMaths Project was funded by the ESRC (RES-062-23-1213
Version: Accepted for publication
DOI: 10.1093/teamat/hrw016
URI: https://dspace.lboro.ac.uk/2134/21830
Publisher Link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/teamat/hrw016
ISSN: 1471-6976
Appears in Collections:Closed Access (Mathematics Education Centre)

Files associated with this item:

File Description SizeFormat
Black Hernandez-Martinez Science Capital.pdfAccepted version197.09 kBAdobe PDFView/Open


SFX Query

Items in DSpace are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.