In this epilogue we elaborate on and synthesise what we have learnt from reading this book. We start by considering what the word “apply” in Applying Critical Mathematics Education might mean. Apply connotes to put into action, but it is also related to the following ideas: to work hard at, to pay close attention to, to have relevance for and to request something. In the context of our readings we think of being relational and dedicated as a matter of enhancing situated critical awareness, addressing relevant issues as a matter of highlighting complex global and local challenges and making demands as a matter of agency and power. To us, these themes together synthesise the insights on critical mathematics education in action that the authors of this book offer; namely, propositions on how to illuminate and execute social justice and heterogenous subjectification by critically entangling local and global knowledges in contextually situated educational enactments that hold the potential to address complex challenges. We close by sharing our ideas on how the contribution of this book gives us hope for the future in these times of crises and complex challenges.
In this chapter, we report on a small-scale critical mathematics education project in a Swedish classroom with students of varied language backgrounds. The project departed from the student Arvid’s statement “Mathematics is bad for society.” Our research interest was twofold. On the one hand, we wanted to explore what knowledge is being (re)produced by students as they try to connect and reason with a statement like “Mathematics is bad for society.” And on the other hand, we were also interested in how the students in this classroom, in which they do not have shared mother tongues, can express and (dis)acknowledge knowledge when reasoning about mathematics in society. We found that when the students (and their teacher) grappled with unpacking critical aspects such as “mathematics in society,” their reciprocal assessment of claims was based on their individual ways of knowing and talking, and tended to shape both their actions and the outcome of their efforts. We show that the discussion around critical aspects of mathematics in society that came to the fore was intertwined with both students’ and the teacher’s (lack of) meta-understanding of language diversity.