Swanson DM (2006) Power and Poverty - Whose, Where, and Why?: School Mathematics, Context and the Social Construction of "Disadvantage". In: Novotna J, Moraova H, Kratka M & Stehlikova N (eds.) Proceedings 30th Conference of the
International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education, Vol. 5. PME Proceedings. 30th Conference of the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education, Prague, Czech Republic, 16.07.2006-21.07.2006. Prague: International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education, pp. 217-224.
Abstract This paper compares the discourse and practice of school mathematics in two socioeconomically different school contexts in post-apartheid South Africa. It addresses the relationship between constructed "difference" and "pedagogized disadvantage." In other terms, it looks at the way in which certain students, spoken-of in terms of "deficit" and "disadvantage", are afforded differentiated school mathematics discourse that situates them in terms of "failure". Consequently, these socially constructed students are not provided with access to pedagogic or socio-economic empowerment. The paper examines the role of social context in the elaboration of social difference discourses and their recontextualization into mathematics in ways that recruit psychologizing positions, thus pathologizing students and producing disabling pedagogies.