Rural Schooling and Good Life in Late Socialist Laos: Articulations, sketches and moments of good time

Roy Huijsmans, Mr Piti

Research output: Chapter/Conference proceedingChapterAcademic

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Drawing on ethnographic research in northern Laos, this chapter analyses articulations of a good life in primary school textbook imagery and how this resonates with everyday life in rural upland communities. This is contrasted with children’s sketches of a good life found in the classrooms and ethnographic accounts of moments of ‘good time’ in the context of rural schooling. It is argued that these latter moments constitute brief instances of a good life in the present. Given the hierarchical power relations in which rural education is embedded, not all of these good times stay good for very long. This is reflective of the condition of late socialism in rural Laos.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRural Life in Late Socialism
Subtitle of host publicationPolitics of Development and Imaginaries of the Future
EditorsPhill Wilcox, Jonathan Rigg, Minh T.N. Nguyen
PublisherBrill Publishers
ISBN (Electronic)978-90-04-52806-2
ISBN (Print)978-90-04-52805-5
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2023

Publication series

SeriesSocial Sciences in Asia

Bibliographical note

The research presented in this chapter was funded through the ESRC-DFID Raising Learning Outcomes in Education Systems (grant number: ES/ N01037X/1, project title ‘Education Systems, Aspiration and Learning in Remote, Rural Settings’). Further, we are grateful for the comments from fellow workshop participants on an initial version of the paper presented at the ZiF
Workshop ‘The Good Life in Late Socialist Asia’ (Bielefeld, 16–18 September 2019). Subsequent versions of the paper have greatly benefited from the excellent feedback from the book editors.


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