Educational Studies in Mathematics

, Volume 72, Issue 1, pp 1–15 | Cite as

Re-mythologizing mathematics through attention to classroom positioning

  • David WagnerEmail author
  • Beth Herbel-Eisenmann


With our conceptualization of Harré and van Langenhove’s (1999) positioning theory, we draw attention to immanent experience and read transcendent discursive practices through the moment of interaction. We use a series of spatial images as metaphors to analyze the way positioning is conceptualized in current mathematics education literature and the way it may be alternatively conceptualized. This leads us to claim that changing the way mathematics is talked about and changing the stories (or myths) told about mathematics is necessary for efforts to change the way mathematics is done and the way it is taught.


Agency Disposition Ethnomathematics Identity Immanence Mathematics education Positioning theory Socio-cultural Transcendence 



We thank Richard Barwell for his feedback on an earlier draft of this article. The work was part of an NSF grant (#0347906) entitled “CAREER: Discourse analysis: A catalyst for reflective inquiry in mathematics classrooms” (Herbel-Eisenmann, PI), and an SSHRC grant entitled “Positioning and Authority in Mathematics Classrooms” (Wagner, PI). Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of NSF or SSHRC.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of EducationUniversity of New BrunswickFrederictonCanada
  2. 2.College of Education, Teacher EducationMichigan State UniversityEast LansingUSA

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