This article critiques the role of the ESKOM Expo for Young Scientists as a particularly salient node in the
constitution of young learners’ identity as prospective participants in the field of science and technology.
The ESKOM Expo is seen as a particularly exciting means of providing access to the niche area of science
and technology. Yet this attraction camouflages a number of pitfalls that learners have to negotiate. Looked
at as a vehicle of accommodation of the scientific and technological aspirations of the young people
involved in this research, the ESKOM Expo reveals itself to be problematic in various ways. Positioning
itself within a postcritical ethnographic framework, this article considers these issues at two levels: a) the
disjuncture between the bureaucratic institution of the expositions and the intuitiveness and spontaneity
evident in the learners’ preparation for the exposition; b) issues of language and representation that
tend to marginalise learners from working class backgrounds. It is argued that the institution of the
ESKOM Expo, while undoubtedly useful as a means of opening up young learners’ horizons of science
and technology, is still not sufficiently flexible, both at a conceptual and an organisational level, for it to
be the vehicle of technological empowerment it is intended to be.