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      “Not Designed for Us”: How Science Museums and Science Centers Socially Exclude Low-Income, Minority Ethnic Groups

      Science Education

      BlackWell Publishing Ltd

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          Abstract

          This paper explores how people from low-income, minority ethnic groups perceive and experience exclusion from informal science education (ISE) institutions, such as museums and science centers. Drawing on qualitative data from four focus groups, 32 interviews, four accompanied visits to ISE institutions, and field notes, this paper presents an analysis of exclusion from science learning opportunities during visits alongside participants’ attitudes, expectations, and conclusions about participation in ISE. Participants came from four community groups in central London: a Sierra Leonean group ( n = 21), a Latin American group ( n = 18), a Somali group ( n = 6), and an Asian group ( n = 13). Using a theoretical framework based on the work of Bourdieu, the analysis suggests ISE practices were grounded in expectations about visitors’ scientific knowledge, language skills, and finances in ways that were problematic for participants and excluded them from science learning opportunities. It is argued that ISE practices reinforced participants preexisting sense that museums and science centers were “not for us.” The paper concludes with a discussion of the findings in relation to previous research on participation in ISE and the potential for developing more inclusive informal science learning opportunities.

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          Most cited references 110

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              Whose culture has capital? A critical race theory discussion of community cultural wealth

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Sci Educ
                Sci Educ
                sce
                Science Education
                BlackWell Publishing Ltd (Oxford, UK )
                0036-8326
                1098-237X
                November 2014
                11 September 2014
                : 98
                : 6
                : 981-1008
                Affiliations
                Department of Science & Technology Studies, University College London London, WC1E 6BT, UK
                Author notes
                Correspondence to: Emily Dawson; e-mail: emily.dawson@ 123456ucl.ac.uk

                Contract grant sponsor: United Kingdom's Economic and Social Research Council.

                Contract grant number: ES/G018448/1.

                Article
                10.1002/sce.21133
                4280489
                © 2014 The Authors Science Education Published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

                This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

                Categories
                Science Learning in Everyday Life

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