For whom is mathematical success compatible with ‘physical’ masculinity? Social class, ethnicity, and imagined futures

Type of content
Journal Article
Thesis discipline
Degree name
Informa UK Limited
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Pomeroy D

There is a problematic but widespread perception that we do mathematics with our minds, and sport and Physical Education (PE) with our bodies. Strong identification with sport and PE could therefore pose a barrier to mathematics learning. I explore this troubling possibility using data from a mixed-methods study of 450 Year Nine students (age 13-14) in three New Zealand schools. The most socially privileged students often described mathematical and sporting success as entirely compatible, although most described mathematics as valuable for their working futures and sport as enjoyable but inconsequential. In contrast, working-class and ethnic minority boys often identified strongly with ‘physical’ masculinity and viewed physical strength and sporting prowess as pathways to paid work. Such students tended not to identify as mathematically capable. This mechanism for exclusion from mathematical success is particularly concerning in nations such as New Zealand where sport is so dominant in school-age boys’ imagined futures.

Pomeroy D For whom is mathematical success compatible with ‘physical’ masculinity? Social class, ethnicity, and imagined futures. British Journal of Sociology of Education. 1-16.
mathematics, social class, masculinity, ethnicity, body, discourse
Ngā upoko tukutuku/Māori subject headings
ANZSRC fields of research
1303 Specialist Studies in Education
1399 Other Education
1608 Sociology
Fields of Research::39 - Education::3901 - Curriculum and pedagogy::390109 - Mathematics and numeracy curriculum and pedagogy
Fields of Research::39 - Education::3904 - Specialist studies in education::390406 - Gender, sexuality and education
Fields of Research::39 - Education::3902 - Education policy, sociology and philosophy::390203 - Sociology of education
Fields of Research::44 - Human society::4410 - Sociology::441013 - Sociology of migration, ethnicity and multiculturalism
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