for the learning of mathematics

an international journal of mathematics education

Hilja Lisa Huru ,  Annica Andersson ,  David Wagner - Vol. 43 Num. 3 (2023)
 “...but you cannot buy the sunset”: Abstraction, attachment and detachment


We explore how the concept of abstraction, which is central to mathematical activity, can lead to detachment or attachment to land, nature, culture, language, and heritage in Indigenous contexts. We wonder if students detach themselves from mathematics because they feel mathematics asking them to detach themselves from people and places to whom they wish to remain attached. Even learning activities that are based on students’ culture may potentially remove the students further from their cultural identities and their traditions if these activities are not designed with care. We discuss identity, belonging, and abstraction in society. We consider possibilities within abstraction.