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An ideology critique of the use-value of mathematics

Pais, Alexandre (2013) An ideology critique of the use-value of mathematics. Educational studies in mathematics, 84 (1). pp. 15-34. ISSN 0013-1954

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Abstract

The idea that mathematics is needed for our mundane everyday activities has raised the question of how people deal with mathematics outside the school walls. Much has been written in mathematics education research about the possibility of transferring knowledge from and into school. Whereas the majority of this literature commends the possibility of transfer, thus assuming both the desirability of transfer and the importance of school mathematics for the professional and mundane lives of individuals, I am interested in developing an ideology critique on the beliefs underpinning the research on this issue. It will be argued that the use-value attributed to school mathematics disavows its value as part of a political and economic structure, which requires school mathematics to perform other roles than the one related with utility. This critique will be illustrated through the exploration of a typical transfer situation between school and workplace.

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