Lighting the Fuse: Cultivating the Masculine Physics Habitus – A Case Study of Victor Aged 10–18

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


This chapter presents a longitudinal case study analysis of Victor, a young man who was interviewed from the ages of 10–19, together with his mother, Sam, and who went on to study for a degree in astrophysics. We apply a Bourdieusian conceptual lens to the data, to explore how interactions of capital, habitus and field combine to possibilise Victor and his trajectory to being/becoming a physicist. We also identify specific alignments of his habitus and capital with dominant notions of masculinity and ‘cleverness’ that are demanded and normalised within physics and which, we argue, are key to the reproduction of the elite nature of physics.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.UCL Institute of EducationLondonUK

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