Mapping the Cognitive Competencies of Street Vendors and Bus Conductors: A Cross-Cultural Study of Workplace Mathematics

Iman C. Chahine, Nirmala Naresh



This paper explores the mathematical ideas that emerge across two workplace settings, namely street vending and bus conducting. The purpose of this study was to delineate a trajectory describing potential mathematical structures underlying bus conducting and street vending activities and to extract a conceptual model that could explain the nature of the practitioners’ mathematical knowledge and its connection to formal mathematics. We conducted a meta-analysis of the problem solving behavior and narratives of street vendors and bus conductors in two geographic sites in Beirut, Lebanon and Chennai, India. Principled by Vergnaud’s theory of conceptual fields, the researchers examined heuristics-in-action that transpired as a result of practitioners’ engagement in their respective work situations.


Este artículo explora las ideas matemáticas que surgen a través de dos lugares de trabajo, la venta ambulante y la conducción de autobús. El propósito de este estudio fue definir una trayectoria que describa posibles estructuras matemáticas subyacentes en la conducción de autobuses y actividades  de venta ambulante para extraer un modelo conceptual que podría explicar la naturaleza del conocimiento matemático de los practicantes y su conexión con las matemáticas formales. Hemos llevado a cabo un meta-análisis de la conducta y narraciones de los vendedores ambulantes y conductores en dos sitios geográficos en Beirut, Líbano and Chenai, India. De los principios de la teoría de los campos conceptuales de Vergnaud, los investigadores examinaron la heurística-en-acción que se dieron como resultado de la participación de los practicantes en sus respectivas situaciones de trabajo.

Palabras clave

Workplace mathematics; Ethnomathematics; Heuristics; Problem-solving; Conceptual fields; Matemáticas del lugar de trabajo; Etnomatemática; Heurísticas; Resolución de problemas; Campos conceptuales

Texto completo:



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Revista Latinoamericana de Etnomatemática: perspectivas socioculturales de la Educación Matemática
e-ISSN: 2011-5474
Departamento de Matemáticas y Estadística- Universidad de Nariño
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