Intercultural science education and 'late modernity' : a comparative study between Portugal and England
With this thesis, the researcher hopes to contribute to the understanding of the role of 'the' ideology of modern science in the promotion and transmission of understandings of cultural difference, which can empower Western culture, via science education. Ultimately, she aims to contribute to the debate on the nature of intercultural science education. The thesis involves a comparative discussion of specific aspects of science education in Portugal and England. It is mainly centred on compulsory science educationc urricula. It is supportedb y analyseso f state understandingso f cultural difference and modem science in these two countries. The comparative study derives from a general discussion, within the Western European context, of state education and of the role of 'the' ideology of modern science in the definition and promotion of understandings of cultural difference, which developed in a parallel form to processes of nation-state formation. This discussion is historically oriented. The research questions and comparative principles that orient the comparative study derive from it. In the thesis, the author argues that science education in both Portugal and England also developed as a socialising means regarding issues of cultural difference. State science education has been oriented by economic aims. Generally, these depend on a positive acceptance of scientific knowledge. The promotion of 'the' ideology of modem science seems to have been basic for that. However, this ideology tends to have associatedt he support for understandingso f cultural difference, which can empower Western culture. This being the case, it can have profound negative implications in and for culturally diverse societies. In terms of the nature of intercultural science education, questions relate to the possibility of teaching modern science apart from its ideology, or of teaching a different subject, defined by a broader, more inclusive concept of science, of which modem science is only one element.