Agricultural and science education: a socio-analysis of their intersection and positions within the educational field

Bryan J. Hains, Gary L. Hansen, Ronald J. Hustedde

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


It can be argued that agricultural science is one of the original forms of science education. However, over the past century, agricultural science education has habitually been perceived as an educational venue meant solely for production agriculturalists. When examining modern agricultural education we find it to be a minority within the broader field of science education, contradicting its historically stout scientific standing within the sciences. This educational shift leaves one to ponder the historic development of contemporary agricultural education. To gain deeper insight into these questions we reviewed the historical evolution of agricultural education within the United States. We then examined the professional habitus, or cultural nuances, associated with contemporary agricultural education. Next, we considered potential outcomes associated with the profession embracing post-modern perspectives within mainstream science and community-based education. Finally, we call for critical venues within agriculture education to question the status quo and challenge the acceptance of commonly held views.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)199-210
Number of pages12
JournalCultural Studies of Science Education
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The vocationally derived persona currently permeating formal agricultural education did not always exist. In fact, its history suggests a strong scientific foundation, leaving the authors puzzled regarding the philosophical and practical shifts associated with the profession today. Therefore, we probed deeper into the field’s history. It appears that in the late 1800’s there was an agricultural science revolution. According to John Hillison (), due to an increased population and food demand, multiple politically influential forces worked together to enhance scientific research associated with agricultural production. This collaborative thrust resulted in the passing of the Hatch Act of 1887. The Hatch Act provided funding, from the United States Department of Agriculture, for state based agricultural experiment stations. Results from these experiments were distributed informally to rural Americans by the local university representatives (Hillison ). This was an early example of rural agriscience education.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016, Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies


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