Cultural Studies of Science Education

, Volume 12, Issue 4, pp 873–887 | Cite as

Biopolitics and the ‘subject’ of labor in science education

Original Paper

Abstract

Viewing science education as a site of biopolitical engagement—intervention into forces that seek to define, control, and exploit life (biopower)—requires that science educators ask after how individuals and populations are governed by technologies of power. In this paper, I argue that microanalyses, the analysis of everyday practices and discourses, are integral to biopolitical engagement, are needed to examine practices that constitute subjectivities and maintain oppressive social conditions. As an example of a microanalysis I will discuss how repetitive close-ended lab/assessment tasks, as well as discourses surrounding careers in science, can work to constitute students as depoliticized, self-investing subjects of human capital. I also explore the relationship between science education, (bio)labor and its relation to biopolitics, which remains an underdeveloped area of science education. This paper, part of my doctoral work, began to take shape in 2011, shortly after the 2008 economic crisis achieved a tiny breached in the thick neoliberal stupor of everyday (educational) life.

Keywords

Biopolitics Biopower Human Capital Discourse Ideology Labor Micropractices Microanalyses Lab activities 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of ReginaReginaCanada

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