, Volume 51, Issue 2, pp 279–289 | Cite as

Political, relational, and complexly embodied; experiencing disability in the mathematics classroom

  • Rachel LambertEmail author
Original Article


The academic field of Disability Studies (DS) offers theoretical tools to understand how social practices intersect with embodiment, long a critical issue in DS because disability is a category of human difference that is always already embodied. I review two theories that seek to resolve this dichotomy between the body and social worlds: complex embodiment (Siebers, Disability theory, University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor, 2008) and the political/relational model (Kafer, Feminist, Queer, Crip, Indiana University Press, Bloomington, 2013). I use these theories to analyze ethnographic data and narratives of a Latina named Desi around disability and mathematics. Desi’s narratives explored experiences relating to Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Learning Disabilities, and mathematics anxiety. Desi’s narratives described disabilities as socio-political constructs, involving relations of power and exclusion, as well as acknowledging the physiological, embodied experience of some differences in relation to mathematics. Through this analysis, I argue for the inclusion of emotion in embodiment, and the use of narrative analysis paired with ethnography as a tool to understand embodied experience.


Disability studies Embodiment Mathematics Disability Narrative 



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Copyright information

© FIZ Karlsruhe 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Gervitz Graduate School of EducationUniversity of California Santa BarbaraSanta BarbaraUSA

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