Identities-in-action: Exploring the fragility of discourse and identity in learning mathematics

Research output: Research - peer-reviewJournal article

Abstract

The notion of identity is often used in mathematics education research in an attempt to link individual and social understandings of mathematical learning. In this paper we review existing research making use of the notion of identity, and we point to some of the strengths and weaknesses in the ways the notion of identity is being constructed. We propose a conceptualization of the notion which points to the fragility and instability of identification processes as embedded into discourse. We contend that a notion of identity formulated from a poststructuralist perspective and emphasising the dialectic relationship between identification and discourse offers interesting possibilities for interpretations of mathematical learning as a fragile process characterised more by discontinuities and disruptions than by continuity and stability. We further argue that a poststructuralist notion of fragile identities in action allows us to bring attention to what is normally considered as ”noise” or ”impossibilities” in our understandings of mathematics education and classroom interaction.
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The notion of identity is often used in mathematics education research in an attempt to link individual and social understandings of mathematical learning. In this paper we review existing research making use of the notion of identity, and we point to some of the strengths and weaknesses in the ways the notion of identity is being constructed. We propose a conceptualization of the notion which points to the fragility and instability of identification processes as embedded into discourse. We contend that a notion of identity formulated from a poststructuralist perspective and emphasising the dialectic relationship between identification and discourse offers interesting possibilities for interpretations of mathematical learning as a fragile process characterised more by discontinuities and disruptions than by continuity and stability. We further argue that a poststructuralist notion of fragile identities in action allows us to bring attention to what is normally considered as ”noise” or ”impossibilities” in our understandings of mathematics education and classroom interaction.
Original languageEnglish
JournalNordisk matematikkdidaktikk
Volume14
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)55-77
Number of pages24
ISSN1104-2176
StatePublished - 2009
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes

    Research areas

  • mathematics education, identitet, discursive practices

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