Mathematical images in advertising: constructing difference and shaping identity, in global consumer culture

Article


Evans, J., Tsatsaroni, A. and Czarnecka, B. 2014. Mathematical images in advertising: constructing difference and shaping identity, in global consumer culture. Educational Studies in Mathematics. 85 (1), pp. 3-27. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10649-013-9496-0
TypeArticle
TitleMathematical images in advertising: constructing difference and shaping identity, in global consumer culture
AuthorsEvans, J., Tsatsaroni, A. and Czarnecka, B.
Abstract

Mathematics educators have long emphasised the importance of attitudes and feelings towards mathematics, as crucial in motivating (or not) its learning and use, and as influenced in turn by its social images. This paper is about images of mathematics. Our search for advertisements containing such images of in UK daily newspapers, during 2006-2008, found that 4.7% of editions included a ‘mathematical’ advert, compared with 1.7% in pilot work for 1994-2003. The incidence varied across type of newspaper, being correlated with class and gender profiles of the readership. Three-quarters of advertisements were classified as containing only very simple mathematics. ‘Semiotic-discursive’ analysis of selected advertisements suggests that they draw on mathematics not to inform, but to connote qualities like precision, certainty and authority. We discuss the discourse on mathematics in advertising as ‘quasi-pedagogic’ discourse, and argue that its oversimplified forms, being empty of mathematical content, become powerful means for regulating and ‘pedagogising’ today’s global consumers.

Keywordsmathematical images; press advertisements; discourse analysis; quasi-pedagogic discourse; popular culture; social class.
PublisherSpringer
JournalEducational Studies in Mathematics
ISSN0013-1954
Publication dates
PrintJan 2014
Publication process dates
Deposited15 Oct 2015
Accepted02 Oct 2013
Output statusPublished
Accepted author manuscript
Copyright Statement

The final publication is available at Springer via http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10649-013-9496-0

Additional information

Published online 02 Oct. 2013

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1007/s10649-013-9496-0
LanguageEnglish
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