Legitimation of knowers for access in science

Karen Ellery


Based on poor performance of students in the higher education science context, this paper questions the current focus on content knowledge and, in so doing, examines the role student knowers play in enabling epistemological access. Using Legitimation Code Theory, and drawing on data from interviews, course documents, observations, and critical reflections, the social relations of a science foundation course in the South African context are examined empirically to reveal the valuing of two kinds of knowers—learning-context knowers (or science learners) and production-context knowers (or scientists). Since being both kinds of knowers is necessary for access to powerful science knowledge, and home and educational contexts of certain groups of students are better in terms of enabling science knowers and learners than others, it is argued from a social justice perspective that science (and other) curricula account for knower attributes in enabling access for success for all students.


science access; Legitimation Code Theory; knowers

Full Text:


Copyright (c) 2018 Karen Ellery

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Journal of Education