Smart girls traversing assemblages of gender and class in Australian secondary mathematics classrooms

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I examine experiences of former Australian schoolgirls in relation to mathematics during secondary school. This research scrutinises misunderstandings about success and impact on subject choice that can result in post-schooling trajectories that limit what girls can do in their lives beyond school. I examine ways affective relationality, as a sense of embodied belonging, may influence participation in subjects. I frame the discussion using the Baradian concept of intra-action, a co-production that engages an ethic of non-coincidence. For these participants, a reductive high-stakes testing environment and aspirations to become a master subject evoke a powerful not good enough assemblage. The responsibility to achieve enough success incites a soliciting of a particular self in affective regulation. The dread of not excelling in mathematics was often too much to endure thus participants chose to discontinue studying mathematics. They understood this as a sensible solution to prevent vulnerability, as not good enough.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)205-221
Number of pages17
JournalGender and Education
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • affect
  • inequity
  • intra-action
  • mathematics
  • Schoolgirl
  • subject choice

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