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Stratigraphy as a method for studying the different modes of existence arising in the mathematical classroom

  • Petra Mikulan
  • Nathalie Sinclair
Original Article


The growing number of interpretive lenses used in mathematics education research are often seen in terms of either/or, such as the individual or the social, the discursive or the bodily, the classroom interactive or the neurological events, the humanist or the post-humanist. We propose stratigraphy as a research (meta-)method that is conjunctive rather than disjunctive, resisting the temptation to collapse these different interpretations into a single, convergent narrative. Using a classroom episode involving young children working on counting with digital technology, and drawing primarily on the work of Gilles Deleuze and Étienne Souriau, we describe the philosophical assumptions of stratigraphy and show what stratigraphy might look like for mathematics education research. We aim to contribute to on-going discussions about how to handle different theories that are used in mathematics education, as well as the question of how to frame their current and future relationships.


Stratigraphy Instauration Souriau Deleuze Virtual Method Gesture TouchCounts Number 



We thank our reviewers for their very helpful comments and suggestions on previous versions of this paper and David Pimm for an especially helpful last round of re-structuring.


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Copyright information

© FIZ Karlsruhe 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Educational Studies, Faculty of EducationThe University of British ColumbiaVancouver BCCanada
  2. 2.Simon Fraser UniversityBurnabyCanada

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