The concept of culture in Critical Mathematics Education

Brendan Philip Larvor, Karen Francois

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


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.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Philosophy of Mathematics Education Today
EditorsPaul Ernest
Place of PublicationSwitserland Cham
ChapterPart III
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-319-77760-3
ISBN (Print)978-3-319-77759-7
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Mathematics Education
  • Cultural context


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