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Abstract

Despite the many hours students spend studying science, only a few relate to these subjects in such a manner that it becomes a part of their essential worldview and advances their education in a larger sense—one in which they make a connection to the subject matter so that it becomes a source of inspiration and occupies a formative position in their life. Using the hermeneutic/phenomenological sense of lifeworld as our “being in the world,” we explore questions of identity in the teaching and learning of science. We suggest that by taking the notion of identity in science to include students' identities in their collective, inclusive of an orientation toward both who the student is and who he wants to become, we can enable this broader educative process. Science's link to lifeworld, identity, and self as well as the literature surrounding each are treated separately in the context of empirical case studies drawn from interviews with young college-aged migrant agricultural workers. This population of students is living within a distinct culture where ideological systems are spread across lines of ethnicity, class, and vocation that place this population of students at risk of dropping out of school. Given the nature of their circumstances and their desire to leave the life of migration behind, these students show how their perceptions of science are embedded within particular issues of lifeworld, identity, and self while illustrating their interrelationships. © 2004 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Sci Ed88:157–181, 2004; Published online in Wiley InterScience (www.interscience.wiley.com). DOI 10.1002/sce.10108