(Ethno)mathematics as discourse

  • Ole Skovsmose Aalborg University, Aalborg-DINAMARCA


Interpreting mathematics as a discourse includes three claims: that there are forms of mathematics-reality transitions, that mathematics includes actions, and that mathematics includes a political dimension. Through a discussion of different mathematics-based discursive acts, I will substantiate the discursive interpretation of mathematics. Next, by reconsidering ethnomathematics-based discursive acts, I will argue that also ethnomathematics can be interpreted as a discourse. As in the case of mathematics, ethnomathematics-based discursive acts concern the formation of: possibilities, rationality, structures and artefacts, authority, and overlooking. Finally, I will provide a critical perspective on both mathematics and ethnomathematics through the claim that any kind of action is in need of critical reflections. Keywords: Discursive Acts. Formation of Possibilities. Formation of Rationality. Formation of Structures and Artefacts. Formation of Authority. Formation of Overlooking.