The Concept of Culture in Critical Mathematics Education

  • Brendan LarvorEmail author
  • Karen François
Part of the ICME-13 Monographs book series (ICME13Mo)


A well-known critique in the research literature of critical mathematics education suggests that framing educational questions in cultural terms can encourage ethnic-cultural essentialism, obscure conflicts within cultures and promote an ethnographic or anthropological stance towards learners. Nevertheless, we believe that some of the obstacles to learning mathematics are cultural. ‘Stereotype threat’, for example, has a basis in culture. Consequently, the aims of critical mathematics education cannot be seriously pursued without including a cultural approach in educational research. We argue that an adequate conception of culture is available and should include normative/descriptive and material/ideal dyads as dialectical moments.


Culture Ethnomathematics Critical mathematics education Gender 


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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of HumanitiesUniversity of HertfordshireHatfieldUK
  2. 2.Center for Logic and Philosophy of ScienceVrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB)BrusselsBelgium

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