Dr. Billy Wong (Associate Professor in Widening Participation, University of Reading’s Institute of Education) has published a chapter in the book, Science Identities: Theory, method and research, edited by Henriette Tolstrup Holmegaard and Louise Archer. Idea for the book came from the inaugural meeting of the Science Identities special interest group (SIG) at the European Science Education Research Association (ESERA) annual conference in Dublin, Ireland, back in 2017.

In his chapter, Dr. Wong explores the concept of science identity as a symbolic exchange, focusing on how decisions and choice of consumptions are bounded up with status and power. The chapter draws on sociological theories of social reproduction and highlights the added value of studying science for school students, especially in physics and amongst high achievers. The chapter provides examples of how students choose to study advanced-level physics because of its exchange-value, symbolic identity and the pull factors of physics, and concludes by discussing the potentials of the concept of symbolic exchange for research into young people’s science and physics trajectory, especially in the context of identity.

For more information on Dr. Wong’s research, visit his staff profile page here. You can also follow him on Twitter here.



Wong, B. (2023). Student identity, aspiration and the exchange-value of physics. In H.T. Holmegaard & L. Archer, L. (Eds.) Science Identities: Theory, method and research. Springer https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-17642-5_5