The social turn and its Big Enemy: A leap forward

Cabral, T. C. B.; Baldino, R. R. (2019). The social turn and its Big Enemy: A leap forward. Philosophy of Mathematics Education Journal, n. 35 (Dec. 2019).

This is the latest and perhaps the most important of our publication, since it articulates others, published during the last two decades. It is written as a dialogue between two characters, Mrs. Smith (or Mrs. Silva), a teacher who naïvely follows the directives of the so-called Social Turn movement, and an Orwell inspired entity, the Big Enemy (BE), who is incapable of showing any indignation when confronted with the charges of the Social Turn; on the contrary, BE displays a full utterance of final capitalism on school. The dialogue was successfully presented as an audio-play in a plenary address of MES10 Conference at Hyderabad in February, 2019 by Tânia Cabral (Mrs. Silva) Alexandre Pais (BE) and David Kollosche (Narrator in off). The presentation blades are in (ref.).

Political abstract

By failing to recognize the role of the school apparatus in the capitalist society, the movement called the Social Turn in Mathematics Education turns out reinforcing the conservative rightist position that it seeks to condemn. By historical reasons, in the United States the role of the school apparatus has been superposed to racial issues. The white supremacists have taken control of the educational policy through enforced by law strategies of accountability, high state tests and chartering. We appreciate the struggle of Michelle Gutiérrez’s and her followers in favor of racial minorities. However, by insisting on raising indignation against a much stronger enemy who simply denies them the right to exist, people in the Social Turn Movement in US tend to reinforce the white supremacist position. The Movement’s critical arguments are liminary defeated by intelligent labels such as “soft bigotry of low expectation”; insisting upon such arguments only elicits the present white supremacy lead.

This is why we need a leap forward, aligning Mathematics Education to a deep criticism of the planetary destruction stirred by the capitalist logic, instead of limiting ourselves to adaptative actions to alleviate suffering. Besides looking for new channels of communication, we must challenge the “high stake” journals to publish their self-criticism.

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