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Appears in Collections:Faculty of Social Sciences Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: "Disadvantage" and School Mathematics: The Politics of Context
Author(s): Swanson, Dalene M
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Keywords: sociological language of description
construction of disadvantage
school mathematics
mathematics discourse and practice
the politics of context
mathematics classrooms
Basil Bernstein
Paul Dowling
socio-economic status
language difference
constructions of social difference
Issue Date: 21-Jul-2002
Date Deposited: 14-Jan-2014
Citation: Swanson DM (2002) "Disadvantage" and School Mathematics: The Politics of Context. International Journal of Learning, 9, pp. 1471-1480, Art. No.: LC02-0123-2002.
Abstract: Understanding school mathematics as a discourse of power that (re)produces social inequality, requires, from a critical sociological perspective, invoking a conception of it as a non-neutral discourse that produces contextual realisations according to principles of power. To set the tone, this paper makes a few assertions about school mathematics to support my position and to undergird my discussion on the relationship between discourse and practice in mathematics classroom contexts. This study sets out to provide a sociological slant to the issues that influence classroom mathematics practices, most especially practices that construct members of school communities, such as teachers and, especially, their students, in terms of “disadvantage” in relation to school mathematics. This sociological approach focuses on the concomitant relationship between the ways in which students (and teachers) are spoken about in terms of social difference, (such as gender, class, race, culture, language, and ability, amongst others), and the kinds of differentiated practices which are afforded them, or in which they engage, in the mathematics classroom. This approach is a break from the more usual cognition-based approach to mathematics education.
Rights: Published by Common Ground Publishing Individual chapters copyright © individual contributors 2002-2005 All rights reserved. Apart from fair dealing for the purposes of study, research, criticism or review as permitted under the Copyright Act, no part of this article may be reproduced by any process without written permission from the publisher.

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