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Constructions of mathematicians in popular culture and learners' narratives: a study of mathematical and non-mathematical subjectivities

Moreau, Marie-Pierre; Mendick, Heather and Epstein, Debbie. 2010. Constructions of mathematicians in popular culture and learners' narratives: a study of mathematical and non-mathematical subjectivities. Cambridge Journal of Education, 40(1), pp. 25-38. ISSN 0305-764X [Article]

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Abstract or Description

In this paper, based on a project funded by the UK Economic and Social Research Council considering how people position themselves in relation to popular representations of mathematics and mathematicians, we explore constructions of mathematicians in popular culture and the ways learners make meanings from these. Drawing on an analysis of popular cultural texts, we argue that popular discourses overwhelmingly construct mathematicians as white, heterosexual, middle-class men, yet also construct them as 'other' through systems of binary oppositions between those doing and those not doing mathematics. Turning to the analysis of a corpus of 27 focus groups with school and university students in England and Wales, we explore how such images are deployed by learners. We argue that while learners' views of mathematicians parallel in key ways popular discourses, they are not passively absorbing these as they are simultaneously aware of the clichd nature of popular cultural images.

Item Type:

Article

Identification Number (DOI):

https://doi.org/10.1080/03057640903567013

Keywords:

gender, social class, ethnicity, mathematics, education, popular culture, schools, social justice

Related URLs:

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Educational Studies

Dates:

DateEvent
2010Published

Item ID:

4105

Date Deposited:

15 Oct 2010 08:55

Last Modified:

07 Dec 2012 12:54

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.

URI:

http://research.gold.ac.uk/id/eprint/4105

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