6 Academic Activism in STEM fields: Discipline in Theory and Practice
Journal: PHILOSOPHY AND THEORY IN HIGHER EDUCATION Volume 4 Issue 2 pp. 123 - 142
When theorising academic activism, the role of disciplines and their associated tribes and territories need to be considered. Notions of objectivity and neutrality and the approach of positivism and interpretivism are at the heart of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) fields, although nuances play out within and across disciplines. These orientations impact how activism is conceptualised across disciplinary contexts and put into practice for staff, students, and the wider public. This chapter explores activism in STEM disciplines, and the interdisciplinary spaces between them, as sites that can foster or hold back academic activism. The activist roles that individuals take on, the process and outcomes of their research, and teaching the next generation of scientists are all disciplined by disciplines. This paper further explores how academic activism in STEM is bounded by institutional and national social and political contexts, but also works to challenge and change these.