Intra-action analysis of emergent science phenomena: examining meaning-making with the more than human in science classrooms

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The More Than Human (MTH; Bang and Marin 2015) world is often considered passive and neutral, not implicated in meaning-making in science classrooms. Through this framing, learning spaces are considered the backdrop upon which learning occurs, where the goal of science teaching is to explain why or predict how science phenomena-assumed as static reproducible facts-occur. In this paper, I examine the MTH’s role as deeply implicated in meaning-making in middle school science lessons. Set in a private rural school just outside Chennai—a large city in South India—the story I tell weaves together meaning-making around microbes in three different grade eight biology class sections with three different teachers. Through analysis of classroom interactions informed by Indigenous (Bang and Marin 2015) and feminist new materialist (Barad 2007) theories, I develop ‘intra-action analysis’ methods to trace unfolding meaning-making intra-actions across the three lessons, focusing on relations as the unit of analysis. In doing so, in each lesson I illustrate microbes as phenomena that were entangled with(in) human-MTH relations in the present, past, future and imagined space-times. Through this work I offer intra-action analysis as one way to ‘see’ how human-MTH entanglements shape meaning-making and school science phenomena. I argue for science educators to shift how we understand and study meaning-making intra-actions from a humanist perspective to recognizing the MTH world as in learning spaces. Future implications include educators shifting our focus from learning about a static ‘other’ to recognizing science learning as youth engaging in and with the MTH, examining the world in its’ emergence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)853-877
Number of pages25
JournalCultural Studies of Science Education
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cultural Studies


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