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Department of Planning

PhD defence by Melissa Andrade-Molina

(D)effecting the child: The scientifization of the self through school mathematics.


18.09.2017 kl. 13.00 - 16.00


This dissertation explores features of the socio-political dimension of mathema+cs education by focusing on the techniques and government strategies within education. It problema+zes the power effects of school geometry and Chilean school mathematics curriculum in the fabrication of modern and cosmopolitan subjects. The analysis uses a Foucaultian analytical toolbox and strategies to understand the rela+onship between power and knowledge in mathematics education, to contribute with an understanding of how a subject becomes the desired "scientific self" through the very process of learning mathematics: The (d)effecting of the child. And, what started as a problematization of the power effects of school geometry ended up merging with issues that connect mathematics and school mathematics with large-scale assessment, progress and the economic growth of nations, and the scientifization of the self. This opened the path to a broader aspect, oKen neglected, of mathematics education: school mathematics as a consumer’s good for an ever-growing economy.

Through a multiverse connected by wormholes, this dissertation challenges the 'taken for granted' truths about school mathematics. Truths such as the belief in the need for logical thinking to cope with modern society or that welfare can be achieved through mathematics proficiency. School mathematics is not only thought to develop valuable skills and to optimize the quality of education and the quality of life (a role of mathematics education that appears to be 'natural' in the Western world). It also has a disciplinary and normalizing effect in the fabrication of the productive and desired subjected body. In this light accountability, competition (through national and international standardized assessment) and marketing are not only important goals of the education, but, at the same time, these are taken to as a mean for achieving a better economy and progress through school mathematics. Schooling inserts students into school practices where they regulate themselves to become the desired scientific citizen, skilled and excited to learn mathematics.

assessment committee

Professor Emeritus Ole Skovsmose (Chairman), Aalborg University, Denmark

Professor Elizabeth de Freitas, Manchester Metropolitan University, Great Britain

Professor Thomas Popkewitz, University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA


Professor Paola Valero, Aalborg University, Denmark and Stockholm University, Sweden


BeAna Dahl Søndergaard, Aalborg University, Denmark


After the defece the department will host a reception at groundfloor in Rendsburggade. Please sign up for the event though this link


Free of charge


Department of Planning


Rendsburggade 14, room 4/4.513, 9000 Aalborg

Registration Deadline

11.09.2017 kl. 12.00