Contingency Research

1. The postmodern means goodbye to the modern, both as postmodernism on the discursive level and as postmodernity on the practice level. Postmodernism is poststructuralism rejecting the belief that the world has a structure to be represented and echoed by language, and warning against becoming enslaved and clientified by echo-phrasings and echo-discourses. Postmodernity is post-industry now using electrons to carry also information, to machines and to global TV’s, thus creating automation and globalisation; and individualisation since the individual can no longer get an identity through echoing the local tradition, but has to construct a self-identity through self-stories. In short the postmodern means a transition from an echo-society to a dilemma-society.

2. Modern research echoing the structure of the world becomes problematic in a world without structure. Postmodern research is a search for hidden contingency, i.e. for alternatives to choice presented as nature to install false patronization and clientification. So postmodern contingency research deconstructs modern structure claims and echo-discourses by rephrasing echo-phrasings.

3. Postmodern contingency research is working within the sociological part of the social turn in mathematics education. In mathematics education ‘mathematics’ and ‘education’ are echo-phrasings that can be rephrased as ‘grammar of the number language’ and ‘cure’. This rephrasing exposes the contemporary mathematics education tradition as treating clients in need of a number language with a grammar cure; and it provides a counter cure for, not the client, but the cure: language before grammar; a counter cure that might make mathematics a human right. The inspiration comes from the French republic and especially from Foucault.

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