Video Analysis of Mathematical Practice? Different Attempts to "Open Up" Mathematics for Sociological Investigation

  • Christian Greiffenhagen University of Manchester
Keywords: video analysis, work­place studies, sociology of sci­entific knowl­edge, mathematics


In this article I argue that in contrast to a large number of sociological studies of laboratory practices in the natural sciences, there have been relatively few studies that have investigated professional mathematical practice. I discuss three different methodological attempts to "open up" advanced mathematics for sociological investigation: (1) LIVINGSTON's "demonstrative sociology"; (2) MERZ and KNORR-CETINA's "e-mail ethnography"; and (3) my own "video ethnography." URN: urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs0803323


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Author Biography

Christian Greiffenhagen, University of Manchester
Christian GREIFFENHAGEN is a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Manchester, currently conducting ethnographic research on mathematical practice, which aims to address a key challenge for the sociology of scientific knowledge: What could a sociology of mathematics look like? His doctoral research (at the University of Oxford) was a video-based ethnographic study of how a new innovative storyboarding software embedded in everyday classroom practice and how this reconfigured classroom interaction. His recent publications are "Unpacking tasks: the fusion of new technology with instructional work," Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW), "Where do the limits of experience lie? Abandoning the dualism of objectivity and subjectivity," History of the Human Sciences (with Wes SHARROCK), and "School mathematics and its everyday other? Revisiting Lave's 'Cognition in Practice'," Educational Studies in Mathematics (with Wes SHARROCK).
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