Perception Of The Culture Of Disengagement By Minoritized Students

  • Luan Nguyen (Iow State University)


Cech (2014) argues that there is a culture of disengagement from various sociopolitical matters in engineering education. This culture is problematic because it causes many students to be insensitive to pervasive sociopolitical issues (e.g. race-related stress, racial and gender discriminations, inequalities) even though these issues continue to affect minoritized engineering students. Depoliticization, which implies that engineering work could and should be separated from sociopolitical concerns because such considerations might lead to bias in engineering practice, is one of the components of this culture of disengagement. This ethnographic study aims to explore this culture of disengagement and its depoliticization component, using microaggressions (the subtle assaults that people face because of their membership in social groups such as race, gender, and sexual orientation) as an example of a concrete sociopolitical problem that affects students’ day-to-day lives. The significance of this project lies in its methodology. By focusing on minoritized students’ understanding of the culture of disengagement, it goes beyond dominant Eurocentric perspectives and offers a valuable, yet often overlooked, angle on how to promote greater sociopolitical awareness and engagement in engineering education.



Published on
03 Mar 2021