Going, Going, Gone: A Feminist Bourdieusian Analysis of Young Women’s Trajectories in, Through and Out of Physics, Age 10–19

Part of the Cultural Studies of Science Education book series (CSSE, volume 19)


This chapter draws on longitudinal interview data collected from seven young woman in England who were tracked from age 10–19 and who had all expressed an aspiration at age 16 to study Advanced level (A level) physics. Applying a feminist Bourdieusian conceptual lens, we explore their trajectories in, through and out of physics: from Danielle, who is denied entry to A level physics; to Victoria and Thalia, who are debarred from the course before completion; to Davina, Kate and Mienie, who complete the A level but who choose not to pursue the subject further; and finally Hannah, who goes on to study physics at university. Attention is drawn to the pedagogic work conducted by the field of physics, notably the cultivation of habitus and hexis through the bodies, minds and identities of the young women, and its stringent gate-keeping practices, which ensure the reproduction of the elite status of the field and the simultaneous disadvantaging of women.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.UCL Institute of EducationLondonUK

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