NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ1236483
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2019-Dec
Pages: 25
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1871-1502
Discerning Contextual Complexities in STEM Career Pathways: Insights from Successful Latinas
Gallard Martínez, Alejandro J.; Pitts, Wesley; Ramos de Robles, Silvia Lizette; Milton Brkich, Katie L.; Flores Bustos, Belinda; Claeys, Lorena
Cultural Studies of Science Education, v14 n4 p1079-1103 Dec 2019
This paper introduces the concept of contextual mitigating factors (CMFs) as a theoretical construct to help understand how Latinas who demonstrated success in STEM pipelines navigated the fluidly and dynamically shifting socio-historical-political contexts in which they found themselves. Further, understanding the ways in which CMFs contribute to the development of circumstances within fluid social fields is essential to understand the factors which Latinas both experience and create in their social interactions. We framed the development of CMFs within discussions of social place (Bourdieu and Wacquant in An invitation to reflexive sociology, University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1992), social field (Swartz in Culture and power: the sociology of Pierre Bourdieu, University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1997), and dynamic space (Tobin in Keynote address at 8th international congress on science teaching and learning, Barcelona, Spain, 2009). Given that CMFs appear as the result of social interactions within contextualized spaces, acknowledging the importance of place, be it physical or metaphorical, is essential in framing discussions on the sense-making of the participants' STEM successes. In accounting for our participants' positionalities and the materiality of their contextual experiences, we use CMFs as a theoretical underpinning to guide our methodological approach which we identify as CMF analysis. In each case, CMF analysis is used to explore how positionalities and experiences reflexively shaped each other, all while contributing to individual and social personhoods. Furthermore, the use of CMFs, by placing importance on both context "and" history, allowed us to discern not only the similarities of our participants' sociocultural, -economical, -historical and -political navigations toward success, but also the substantive differences between them. In presenting our discussion of CMFs, we present two of sixty case studies focusing on Latinas' successes in STEM fields using the intrinsic case study method (Stake, in: Denzin, Lincoln (eds) The SAGE handbook of qualitative research, 3rd edn, pp 443-466, SAGE, Thousand Oaks, 2005). This was the most appropriate method in analyzing our participants' experiences, because this allowed our participants to tell their stories of becoming and being successful in pursuing STEM pathways. Marrying this framework with intrinsic case study method provided internal consistency to the study. Ultimately, we want other researchers to see the benefits associated with CMF analysis, namely the provision of an additive framework in understanding the lived experiences of minority groups. By accounting for the role macro-, meso-, and microgenic CMFs play in the minority students' educational experiences, educators at all levels may play a substantively larger role in helping sustain their agency as learners.
Springer. Available from: Springer Nature. 233 Spring Street, New York, NY 10013. Tel: 800-777-4643; Tel: 212-460-1500; Fax: 212-348-4505; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A