de Toledo e Toledo, N., Knijnik, G., Valero, P.
Mathematics education in the neoliberal and corporate curriculum: the case of Brazilian agricultural high schools
(2018) Educational Studies in Mathematics, 99 (1), pp. 73-87.
The pedagogical principle learning by research guides the current curriculum in agricultural high schools in Brazil. A problematization of the principle shows how (1) it feeds into current neoliberal and corporate agendas in the education sector, and (2) it associates mathematical formalism and abstraction as necessary conditions for the production and use of biotechnology. Data consists of official national and institutional policy documents, as well as interviews conducted with nine former students, along with their school notebooks and tests. The theoretical and methodological framework draws on the work of Michel Foucault. It is argued that neoliberal market values are embedded in the mathematics education, through the articulation of abstract and formal reasoning with techno-scientific knowledge, for the purpose of competitive production. The learning by research principle shapes students’ subjectivities to desire becoming techno-scientificized individuals. The ethical question of the subordination of the value of mathematics education to a neoliberal, predominantly marketized logic is raised as a challenge to the role of mathematics in contemporary cultures. © 2018, Springer Nature B.V.
High school agricultural education courses; Mathematics education; Mathematics education and subjectivation; Mathematics in agricultural education