Measurement as relational, intensive and analogical: Towards a minor mathematics

Elsevier, Journal of Mathematical Behavior, Volume 59, September 2020
de Freitas E., Sinclair N.

Minor mathematics refers to the mathematical practices that are often erased by state-sanctioned curricular images of mathematics. We use the idea of a minor mathematics to explore alternative measurement practices. We argue that minor measurement practices have been buried by a ‘major’ settler mathematics, a process of erasure that distributes ‘sensibility’ and formulates conditions of mathematics dis/ability. We emphasize how measuring involves the making and mixing of analogies, and that this involves attending to intensive relationships rather than extensive properties. Our philosophical and historical approach moves from the archeological origins of human measurement activity, to pivotal developments in modern mathematics, to configurations of curriculum. We argue that the project of proliferating multiple mathematics is required in order to disturb narrow (and perhaps white, western, male) images of mathematics—and to open up opportunities for a more pluralist and inclusive school mathematics.