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Re: math for reproduction and domination

how can you understand any action outside the particulars of the historical situation of the activity system. You seem to advocate that we can understand children's and their teachers' actions just by looking at a classroom. This is what researchers have done over the past 50 years, and all our community has produced is new and not even better mousetraps, and this and that curriculum, but the basic issues of inequality remain unaddressed. In the 1970s, the US army bombed the hell out of a neighborhood in Philadelphia, were a group called MOVE had taken residence. The neighborhoods still look the same--though right next to it, UPenn has its school of economics where the tuition fees must by upwards of $60k/year. On the one hand, people able to pay the fees, and right next to it first graders too hungry in their bellies to learn, high school students unable to come to school because they only have 1 outfit and only enough money to launder once a week and not coming to school because they don't want to smell and be teased about it. This kind of analysis is necessary, because it deals with the very essentials of the first grader's life. It is essential because they have to eat MacDonald's food and thereby enter the legions of the obese. It matters because over 60% of your countries citizens are obese and overweight and elsewhere people starve by the millions. The first grader is put through the particular routine you are recording and describing to sustain this situation. And this is why we need to analyze it.

On 11-Nov-04, at 7:43 AM, Bill Barowy wrote:

On Thursday 11 November 2004 10:22 am, Wolff-Michael Roth wrote:

I was struck that in the entire discussion, there was no cultural
historical analysis of the situation in which children do these
mathematical things not because they are (considered) useful and its
outcomes have any relevance to anything but to the reproduction of a
society, where, as in the US, 15 to 20 percent of the population live
in poverty, and where education is used to systematically exclude parts of the population to share in the wealth that is collectively produced.

I don't think such an analysis is necessay, Michael. I think it's obvious and publications from such people as Bowles and Gintis hammer that point home. In first grade, this kind of thinking is a long ways off. I'm not even sure it's something one could do consistently in high school. But if a student takes a course in marxist economics at Umass Amherst, or any other univeristy
for that matter, that point will be well addressed.