Nature-culture constructs in science learning: Human/non-human agency and intentionality

Megan Bang*, Ananda Marin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

117 Scopus citations


The field of science education has struggled to create robust, meaningful forms of education that effectively engage students from historically non-dominant communities and women. This paper argues that a primary issue underlying this on-going struggle pivots on constructions of nature-culture relations. We take up structuration theory (Giddens, 1984. The constitution of society: Outline of the theory of structuration. Berkeley and Los Angeles, CA: University of California Press.) and decolonizing methodologies (Smith, 2012. Decolonizing methodologies research and Indigenous peoples (2nd. ed.). London: Zed Books.) to reflect on the structural principles of the settled expectations of nature - culture relations. We suggest that taken together both Giddens' and Smith's respective discussions of time-space relations provide a powerful framing for nature-culture relations. Carefully examining shifts in the temporal and spatial scales during moments of talk and action in out-of-school science activities may help to increase the field's understanding of divergences, convergences, and productive generativity between Western science and Indigenous ways of knowing to create transformative science learning. Drawing on our work in community-based design research and studies of everyday parent-child interactions, we begin to describe emergent structural principles that may desettle normative time-space and nature-culture relations. In addition, we describe specific practices and pedagogical forms that expand views of human and non-human agency, as well as present and possible socio-ecological futures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)530-544
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Research in Science Teaching
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2015


  • agency
  • culture and learning
  • indigenous students

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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