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AbstractThe subject textbook has been studied and described by amongst others Michael Apple (Apple 1991 and John Dewey (Dewey 1966). However, as yet little attention has actually been paid tothis artefact in use and to its role in definingwhose culture is taught and learned and what the mechanisms of this process are. By ethnographically studying the use of textbooks in everyday educational interchanges we contribute insight into these processes based on an investigation of the use, content and effects of subject textbooks in mathematics in the subject studies education in pre-service mathematics education courses. Dewey and then later Apple regarded textbooks as instruments for the moral regulation of (subordinated) individuals (i.e. pupils) in the struggle by powerful groups to build political and cultural accord within various levels of society. This political, economic, ideological or cultural power, they also noted, was exerted by dominant groups over others regardless of the explicit consent of the latter. This has also been suggested by amongst others Judy Trecker (Trecker 1973) and in de Castell et al (eds) (1989). However, as these authors also note, the curriculum of the school and other education institutions – like the university and its teacher education programmes (Beach 1995, 1997, 1999, 2000) - does not represent neutral knowledge, so textbooks are also potential sites of popular resistance toward the interests underlying official knowledge with a potential for developing alternative ideas and ideologies (Stubbs 1996). What comes to count as legitimate knowledge is the result of complex powerrelations, struggles, and compromises among different classed,raced, gendered, and religious groups around the messages, values, implicit ideologies and recognized possibilities in educational texts (Trecker 1973, Apple 1992).
European Educational Research Association Conference (ECER 2010), Helsinki, Finland