STEM-ification of Education: The Zombie Reform Strikes Again

Ajay Sharma

Abstract


STEM reform efforts are profoundly reshaping the nature of public education in many developed nations. Taking inspiration from Ulrich Beck’s notion of zombie categories in political theory, in this paper I make the case that the current STEM education bandwagon is a zombie reform that has been coming back in different garbs to haunt public education with disheartening consistency for more than a century. I explain the endurance and success of STEM and STEM-like initiatives of the past as an outcome of the discursive legitimacy afforded by the hegemonic discourse of neoliberalism and the material power of powerful actornetworks that fuel these initiatives. In the end I explore if overcoming this zombie attack is indeed a ‘mission impossible’.

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