Cultural Studies of Science Education

, Volume 13, Issue 3, pp 617–637 | Cite as

Contribution to activity: a lens for understanding students’ potential and agency in physics education

  • Sanaz FarhangiEmail author
Original Paper


In this paper I argue for using the concept of contribution to activity to understand student engagement with science education and its transformational potential in formal settings. Drawing on transformative activist stance, I explain contribution as how individuals take part in and transform collective practices according to their own life agendas and get transformed themselves. As contribution to science education is a concept based on transformation, not adaptation, it can be especially informative when examining how underrepresented students in science can be more engaged in science education and eventually science. Using survey, interview and group conversations, and field observations in an undergraduate physics course, I put forward Zoey’s case to illustrate my argument and show how her contribution to the activities in the course initiated change in the activity among her peers.


Transformative activist stance (TAS) Contribution to activity Teaching–learning Sociocultural Physics 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Florida International UniversityMiamiUSA

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