Cultural Studies of Science Education

, Volume 5, Issue 2, pp 383–422 | Cite as

Mexican immigrant transnational social capital and class transformation: examining the role of peer mediation in insurgent science

ORIGINAL ARTICLE

Abstract

In this article, I return to the interactions of Augusto and his teacher in an “English Learner Science” classroom in a demographically-transitioning US Midwest community (Richardson Bruna and Vann in Cult Stud Sci Educ 2:19–59, 2007) and further engage a class-first perspective to achieve two main conceptual objectives. First, I examine Augusto’s science education experience as a way of understanding processes Rouse (Towards a transnational perspective on migration: Race, class, ethnicity, and nationalism reconsidered. The New York Academy of Sciences, New York, 1992) refers to as “the disciplinary production of class-specific subjects” (p. 31). Coming from a subsistence farming community in rural Mexico to an industrialized meatpacking community in semi-rural Iowa, I describe how Augusto undergoes a change in his class identity (experiences a Class Transformation) that is not just reflected but, in fact, produced in his science class. Second, I examine the work Augusto does to resist these processes of disciplinary production as he reshapes his teacher’s instruction (promotes a class transformation) through specific transnational social capital he leverages as peer mediation. My overall goals in the article are to demonstrate the immediate relevance of a socio-historical, situated perspective to science teaching and learning and to outline domains of action for an insurgent, class-cognizant, science education practice informed by transnational social capital, like Augusto’s.

Keywords

Mexican immigrants Science education Social capital Peer mediation Class 

Resumo

En este artículo, regreso a las interacciones de Augusto y su maestra en una clase de “Ciencias Para Estudiantes de Inglés Como Segundo Idioma” en una comunidad en transición demográfica del Medio Oeste de los Estados Unidos (Richardson Bruna and Vann in Cult Stud Sci Educ 2:19–59, 2007). En este artículo, uso una perspectiva que antepone el análisis de clase para lograr dos objetivos conceptuales principales. Primero, examino la experiencia de la educación científica que tiene Augusto como una manera de entender los procesos a los que Rouse (Towards a transnational perspective on migration: Race, class, ethnicity, and nationalism reconsidered. The New York Academy of Sciences, New York, 1992) se refiere como “la producción disciplinaria de sujetos de clase-específicos” (p. 31). Proveniente de una comunidad rural basada en la agricultura en México a una comunidad de empacadoras industrializadas en el Iowa semi-rural, describo la manera en que Augusto sufre un cambio en su identidad de clase (experiencia una Transformación de Clase) que no es solamente reflejada sino producida en su clase de ciencias. Segundo, examino la resistencia de Augusto hacia estos procesos de producción disciplinaria cuando transforma las enseñanzas de su maestra (que promueve una transformación de clase) mediante el capital social transnacional específico que se manifiesta como mediación entre compañeros. Como etnógrafa, mis interpretaciones están basadas en datos de varias fuentes: entrevistas con Augusto, observaciones de su clase de ciencias, y notas y fotos de mis visitas a su comunidad de origen en México. Estos datos producen una interpretación bien contextualizada, consciente de los niveles macro, meso y micro, de las experiencias de Augusto. A nivel macro, describo la situación socio-histórica, la intersección de la historia de los trabajadores inmigrantes mexicanos en el Iowa rural con la de la industria agro-alimentaria globalizada y detallo los efectos locales de esta intersección en los contextos científicos escolares. A nivel micro, describo en detalle la persona de Augusto y su experiencia transnacional, indicando los elementos específicos de su experiencia que tienen potencial de servir como capital social para la mediación entre sus compañeros. A nivel meso, describo qué ocurre cuando la situación socio-histórica (lo macro) y la persona (lo micro) se reúnen sobre la actividad de disección de puercos. A este nivel, Augusto usa lo que Rouse (1992) llama un “primer idioma” de ajuste para legitimar su papel como mediator entre sus compañeros y, por último, un “segundo idioma” de crítica para transformar la experiencia de su clase de ciencias. Este estado de “bifocalidad cultural” (Rouse 1992) en el que existen dos idiomas perspectivas contradictorias y de conflicto es típico para los que tienen identidades transnacionales. Forma parte importante del sistema eco-social de cualquier clase de ciencias en donde participen estudiantes inmigrantes y, por eso, propongo que debemos poner especial atención para servirles mejor. En fin, mis objetivos principales en este artículo son demostrar la relevancia inmediata de una perspectiva situada socio-históricamente hacía la enseñanza y el aprendizaje de la ciencia en donde resalten los dominios de acción de una práctica educativa de ciencias insurgente y consciente de clase y cuya práctica sea informada por el capital social como el de Augusto.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Curriculum and Instruction, College of Human SciencesIowa State UniversityAmesUSA

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