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Towards an Education for Social Justice

Ethics Applied to Education


Edited By Tony Cotton

This book challenges educators to envisage an education system which sees as its goal a more socially just world. It explores the question of how education, both formal and informal, can positively impact on all pupils’ life chances and life experiences.
The contributors to the book take the view that access to an equitable education for all is a necessary condition for the advancement of social justice; indeed the book argues that social justice cannot be achieved except through education. The authors suggest that it is the responsibility of educators to support the advancement of the millennium development goals including the achievement of universal primary education and the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women.
The authors in this collection explore a range of case studies and offer evidence for the ways in which education has proved detrimental to the advancement of social justice. More importantly they point to ways in which our global education system can be developed to meet the requirements of a socially just society.


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9 Brian R. Lawler: The Fabrication of Knowledge in Mathematics Education


Brian R. Lawler 9 The Fabrication of Knowledge in Mathematics Education: A Postmodern Ethic toward Social Justice Introduction In this chapter it is my intention to draw upon a post-epistemological view of knowledge, so as to reinscribe the discipline of mathematics in such a way that a more socially just manner of teaching can be recognized and embraced. If we regard mathematical knowledge as constructed – fabricated – ways of knowing and thinking, it redefines the positionality of the teacher in relation to the learner, and the learner to others. The resulting need for the other, an ethical imperative, is established. Understanding knowledge dif ferently, acknowledging this need for the other, and recognizing the emergence of a more just expectation for interaction – in particular edu- cational interaction – provides the ethical dimension to this work. As an attempt to reinscribe mathematics, this chapter serves to dis- rupt the trend in western philosophy to reduce the other to the same, a trend noted by Bill Atweh and his colleagues in Chapter Two. This entails a refusal to acknowledge a total existence, a complete humanity to the other as poignantly described by Maresa McKeith in Chapter Four, and it is in this context that I consider the relation of social justice and educa- tion. Mine is a conception dif ferent from the ‘education for social justice’ Ole Skovsmose outlines in Chapter Three, where he emphasizes increas- ing a learner’s life opportunities. It is also dif ferent from ‘social justice in mathematics education’ (equity for the...

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