Research Staff Interests

Professor Tony  Brown


Tony Brown is Professor of Mathematics Education. He leads the Building Research in Teacher Education research group, and co-leads the Centre for Research in Mathematics and Science Education with Yvette Solomon. His work is primarily concerned with considering mathematics education through the lens of contemporary social theory. He has written seven books in this area, including three titles for Springer’s prestigious Mathematics Education Library series, most recently Becoming a Mathematics Teacher and Mathematics Education and Subjectivity. The journal Educational Studies in Mathematics has published eleven of his papers. Tony has also had a long-standing interest in professionally oriented research, typically carried out by practitioners working on doctoral studies. Tony co-organised the inaugural conference on Mathematics Education and Contemporary Theory, held at MMU in July 2011. He co-edited a double special issue of Educational Studies in Mathematics associated with the conference. The second conference took place in June 2013.

Originally from London, Tony Brown trained in Canterbury and Exeter, before returning to London where he taught mathematics for three years at Holland Park School. This was followed by three years as a mathematics teacher educator for Volunteer Services Overseas in Dominica in the Caribbean. In 1987 he completed his PhD at Southampton University, which focused on language usage in mathematics classrooms. After a spell as the mathematics coordinator in a middle school in the Isle of Wight Tony moved to Manchester Metropolitan University in 1989, where he became a professor in 2000. During 2003 and 2004 Tony was based at the University of Waikato where he was the first Professor of Mathematics Education in New Zealand.

Research Interests

Tony Brown's research work has focused primarily on issues relating to language in educational contexts. His work in mathematics education is mainly theoretical but has typically been related to his own teaching in teacher education contexts. Recent work has focused on how teachers, students and mathematics are all shaped by the regulative social structures within which they are encountered. As well as leading doctoral studies in education at MMU for many years, his work on professionally oriented research has been built around work with his own doctoral and masters students, in areas as diverse as: the construction of mathematical objects, being a primary head teacher, interpretation in science, emotional involvement in special education, police training, the use of spreadsheets, emergency medicine, widening participation in higher education, and a psychoanalytic perspective on race in education. He has numerous international publications in the fields of mathematics education and teacher education.

He received two research grants from the Economic and Social Research Council to study the initial training of teachers in the area of primary mathematics. He has also held a grant from the New Zealand Centre for Educational Research to look at the experience of Pacific teachers in New Zealand secondary schools. Another project for the Centre for British Teachers piloted a distance learning programme enabling British volunteers based in Africa to research their own teaching practice. As a result of a research partnership with the College of Emergency Medicine, Tony was involved in a project funded by the General Medical Council and the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges to examine the effectiveness of Continuing Professional Development across the medical professions in the UK.

Research Groups

BRiTE - Building Research in Teacher Education
Centre for Research in Mathematics and Science Education


Brown, T. (2011) Mathematics Education and Subjectivity. Cultures and cultural renewal. Dordrecht: Springer, Mathematics Education Library Series

Brown, T. & McNamara, O. (2011) Becoming a mathematics teacher. Identity and identifications. Dordrecht: Springer

Brown, T.(ed) (2008) The Psychology of Mathematics Education: a psychoanalytic displacement Rotterdam: Sense Publishers

Brown, T., Atkinson, D. & England, J. (2006) Regulative Discourses in Education: A Lacanian perspective Bern, Switzerland: Peter Lang

Brown, T. & McNamara, O. (2005) New Teacher Identity and Regulative Government: The discursive formation of primary mathematics teacher education. New York: Springer

Brown, T. & Jones L. (2001) Action Research and Postmodernism: Congruence and critique Open University Press

Brown, T. (2001) Mathematics Education and Language: interpreting hermeneutics and post structuralism (Revised Second Edition) Mathematics Education Library Series. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Kluwer

Refereed Journal Articles

Brown, T. (in press) Rationality and belief in learning mathematics Educational Studies in Mathematics

Brown, T., Rowley, H. & Smith, K. (2015) Sliding subject positions: knowledge and teacher educators. British Educational Research Journal

Brown, T., Rowley, H. & Smith, K. (2014) Rethinking research in teacher education. British Journal of Educational Studies 62(3) pp 281-296

Brown, T., Hodson, E. & Smith, K. (2013) TIMSS mathematics has changed real mathematics forever. For the learning of Mathematics 33(2) pp 38-43

Smith, K., Hodson, E. & Brown, T. (2013) Teaching educator changing perceptions of theory. Educational Action Research Journal

Smith, K., Hodson, E. & Brown, T. (2013) The discursive production of classroom mathematics. Mathematics Education Research Journal

Brown, T., Heywood, D., Solomon, Y., and Zagorianakos, A. (2012) Experiencing the space we share: rethinking subjectivity and objectivity. ZDM - The International Journal on Mathematics Education

Brown, T. (2012) Subjectivity and cultural adjustment in mathematics education: a response to Wolff-Michael Roth. Educational Studies in Mathematics 80(3)

Brown, T & Walshaw, M. (2012) Mathematics education and contemporary theory: guest editorial. in Brown, T & Walshaw, M.: Double Special Issue: Mathematics education and contemporary theory, Educational Studies in Mathematics 80(1-2)

Walshaw, M. & Brown, T. (2012) Affective Productions of Mathematical Experience. Educational Studies in Mathematics 80(1-2)

Hodson, E., Smith, K. & Brown, T. (2012) Reasserting Theory in Professionally-based Initial Teacher Education. Teachers and Teaching

Brown, T. (2011) Geometry, subjectivity and the seduction of language; the regulation of spatial perception. Educational Studies in Mathematics

Brown, T. (2010) Truth and the renewal of knowledge. The case of mathematics education. Educational Studies in Mathematics

Brown, T. (2008) Signifying "students", "teachers" and "mathematics": a response to a special issue. Educational Studies in Mathematics

Brown, T. (2008) Desire and drive in researcher subjectivity: The broken mirror of Lacan. Qualitative Inquiry

Brown, T. (2008) Lacan, subjectivity and the task of mathematics education research. Educational Studies in Mathematics

Brown, T., Hanley, U., Darby, S. & Calder, N. (2007) Teachers' conceptions of learning philosophies: discussing context and contextualising discussion. Journal of Mathematics Teacher Education

Brown, T. (2007) The art of mathematics: bedding down for a new era. Educational Philosophy and Theory

Brown, T., Devine, N., Leslie, E., Paiti, M., Silailai, E., Umaki, S. & Williams, J. (2006) Reflective engagement in cultural history: A Lacanian perspective on Pasifika teachers in Aotearoa New Zealand. Pedagogy, Culture and Society

Brown, T. & England, J. (2005) Identity, Narrative and Practitioner Research: A Lacanian perspective. Discourse: studies in the cultural politics of education

Brown, T. & Bradford, K. (2005) Ceci n'est pas un circle For the Learning of Mathematics

Brown, T. & England, J. (2004) Revisiting emancipatory teacher research: A Psychoanalytic Perspective. British Journal of Sociology of Education

Book Chapters

Brown, T. & Clarke, D. (2012) 'Institutional Contexts for Research in Mathematics Education' in Clements, M A, Bishop, A, Keitel, C, Kilpatrick, J & Leung, F (eds) Third international handbook of mathematics education Dordrecht: Springer

Brown, T. & Heggs, D. (2011) 'From Hermeneutics to Post-Structuralism to Psychoanalysis' in Somekh, B. & Lewin, C. (eds) Theory and Method in Social Research London, Sage

Calder, N. & Brown, T. (2010) 'Learning through Digital Technologies' in Walshaw, M. (ed) Unpacking Pedagogy: new perspectives for mathematics classrooms Information Age Publishing: Charlotte, North Carolina

Brown, T. (2008) 'Comforting narratives of compliance: Psychoanalytic perspectives on new teacher responses to mathematics policy' in Nolan, K. and deFreitas, E. Opening the research text: Critical insights and in(ter)ventions into mathematics education Springer, New York


link to eSpace publications

Teaching Interests

Mathematics education, practitioner research and teacher education

Areas of Post-graduate Supervision

Professionally oriented practitioner research spanning: Police training, University accreditation of professional training, mathematics education, Emergency Medicine Practice, Lacanian psychoanalytical theory in educational contexts, ethnicity and identity, teacher education.


Position/Post: Professor of Mathematics Education
Responsibilities: Group leader of BRiTE and co-leader of Centre for Research in Mathematics and Science Education
Tel: 0161-247-2243
Location: Birley 1.06