Educational Studies in Mathematics

, Volume 83, Issue 3, pp 453–470 | Cite as

New materialist ontologies in mathematics education: the body in/of mathematics

  • Elizabeth de Freitas
  • Nathalie Sinclair


In this paper we study the mathematical body as an assemblage of human and non-human mathematical concepts. We argue that learners’ bodies are always in the process of becoming assemblages of diverse and dynamic materialities. Following the work of the historian of science Karen Barad, we argue that mathematical concepts must be considered dynamic material, and we suggest a “pedagogy of the concept” that animates concepts as both logical and ontological. We draw on the philosopher of mathematics Gilles Châtelet in order to pursue this argument, elaborating on the way that mathematical concepts partake of the mobility of the virtual, while learners, in engaging with this mobility, enter a material process of becoming. We show how the concept of virtuality allows us to look at mathematical concepts in school curriculum in new ways.


Embodiment Materialism Concept Virtual 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Adelphi UniversityGarden CityUSA

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