Cultural Studies of Science Education

, Volume 14, Issue 2, pp 411–424 | Cite as

How do we know whether the glass is half full? Reflections on equity, hope, and cycles of violence

  • Enrique SuárezEmail author


How should we define equity and justice when it comes to communities and countries with historical, political, and economic trajectories different than ours? In the article “Rethinking equity: standpoints emerging from a community project with victims of violence and abuse in Argentina,” Castaño Rodríguez, Barraza, and Martin argue that it is crucial to define and implement situated views of equity and justice, especially ones that build on Freire’s Pedagogy of Hope. Leveraging feminist standpoint theory, Castaño Rodríguez and her colleagues described how a sanctuary for non-human animals in rural Argentina tried to support the socioemotional growth of a group of youths who faced domestic violence. The analyses led the authors to propose a “glass half-full” definition of equity that recognizes and builds on the resources, resilience, and positive outlook on difficult situations of the oppressed. On first approach, I agreed with Castaño Rodríguez, Barraza, and Martin’s call for the need to remain vigilant about how we define equity and operationalize it when working with historically marginalized communities. However, as I detail in this forum piece, my endorsement of the authors’ “glass half-full” situated vision of equity was undermined by tensions I experienced related to: (1) the article’s theoretical underpinnings; (2) its methodological approaches, particularly inhabiting a kind of “view from nowhere”; and (3) (unintended) implications of their conclusions about hope in the face of cycles of violence. While the work calls our attention to key ideas and methods, such as situated definitions of equity and the role of feminist standpoint theory, I conclude the authors’ “glass half-full” definition of equity sidestepped the structures that undergirded the violence youths and their community experienced and, therefore, did not realize its full potential.


Equity Hope Violence Standpoint theory South America 


¿Cómo deberíamos definir equidad y justicia cuando se trata de comunidades y países con trayectorias históricas, políticas, y económicas diferentes a las nuestras? En el artículo “Rethinking equity: standpoints emerging from a community project with victims of violence and abuse in Argentina,” Castaño Rodríguez, Barraza, y Martin argumentan que es crucial definir e implementar visiones de equidad y justicia que estén situadas en contextos, especialmente aquellas basadas en Pedagogía de la Esperanza de Freire. Utilizando la teoría de la posición feminista (feminist standpoint theory), Castaño Rodríguez y sus colegas describieron cómo un santuario para animales no-humanxs en una comunidad rural en Argentina trató de apoyar el desarrollo socioemocional de jóvenes que habían sufrido violencia doméstica. Los análisis llevaron a las autoras a proponer una definición “vaso medio lleno” de equidad que reconoce y construye sobre los recursos, resiliencia, y optimismo de lxs oprimidxs. A primera vista, concordé con Castaño Rodríguez, Barraza, y Martin en su llamada para estar atentxs sobre cómo definir y operacionalizar equidad cuando trabajamos con comunidades históricamente marginalizadas. Sin embargo, como detallo en este fóorum, mi respaldo de la visión situada “vaso medio lleno” de equidad fue socavada por las tensiones principales que experimenté sobre: (1) las fundaciones teóricas del artículo; (2) las estrategias metodológicas, particularmente habitando una suerte de “visión desde ninguna parte”; y (3) las implicaciones (improvistas) de sus conclusiones sobre la esperanza ante ciclos de violencia. Si bien el trabajo nos llama a atender a ideas y métodos importantes, como una definición situada de equidad y el rol de teoría de la posición feminista (feminist standpoint theory), concluyo que la definición “vaso medio lleno” de equidad de las autoras esquivó las estructuras que afianzaban la violencia que lxs jóvenes y su comunidad vivían y, por ende, no alcanzó su máximo potencial.



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© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Science and Math Education, College of EducationUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA

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