Conceptualizing sound as a form of incarnate mathematical consciousness


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Much of the evidence provided in support of the argument that mathematical knowing is embodied/enacted is based on the analysis of gestures and bodily configurations, and, to a lesser extent, on certain vocal features (e.g., prosody). However, there are dimensions involved in the emergence of mathematical knowing and the production of mathematical communication that have not yet been investigated. The purpose of this article is to theorize one of these dimensions, which we call incarnate sonorous consciousness. Drawing on microanalyses of two exemplary episodes in which a group of third graders are sorting geometric solids, we show how sound has the potential to mark mathematical similarities and distinctions. These "audible" similarities and distinctions, which may be produced by incarnate dimensions such as beat gestures and prosody, allow children to objectify certain geometrical properties of the objects with which they transact. Moreover, the analysis shows that sonorous production is intertwined with other dimensions of students' bodily activity. These findings are interpreted according to the "theory of mathematics in the flesh," an alternative to current embodiment/enactivist theories in mathematics education. Copyright © 2011 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)41-59
JournalEducational Studies in Mathematics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2012


Bautista, A., & Roth, W.-M. (2012). Conceptualizing sound as a form of incarnate mathematical consciousness. Educational Studies in Mathematics, 79(1), 41-59. doi: 10.1007/s10649-011-9337-y


  • Mathematics in the flesh
  • Sound
  • Geometry
  • Elementary students
  • Embodiment
  • Enactivism


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