Gendered Positions and Participation in Whole Class Discussions in the Mathematics Classroom

Laura Black, Darinka Radovic

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


This chapter examines how gendered and classed positions are co-constructed and accessed through participation in whole class discussions in the primary mathematics classroom. Using (Holland D, Lachicotte WJ, Skinner D, & Cain C (1998) Identity and agency in cultural worlds. Harvard University Press, Cambridge and Bourdieu), we highlight how forms of participation mark out gendered and classed positions in education and how this is mediated through the exchange of capital which takes place locally in whole class discussions. We present evidence regarding the experiences of two girls, Sian and Erica, who appear to take up/enact the contrasting positions of ‘domestique’ and ‘in need of help’, which we argue, are mediated by their perceived ability and gender. Our aim is to highlight the concept of ‘position’ as a means to understand how local participation (classroom level) is structurally mediated by the educational field – thus giving more or less access to the symbolic capital that success in mathematics affords.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInside the Mathematics Class: Sociological perspectives on participation, inclusion and enhancement
PublisherSpringer Nature
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-319-79045-9
Publication statusPublished - 30 Sept 2018

Publication series

NameAdvances in Mathematics Education
ISSN (Electronic)1869-4918


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