Rural schooling and good life in late Socialist Laos

How is 'good life' articulated in primary school textbooks and how does this relate to the realities and futures of ethnic Khmu and Hmong children living in remote, rural upland spaces?

Drawing on the ESRC-DFID funded project ‘Education Systems, Aspiration and Learning in Remote Rural Settings’, Roy Huijsmans and Piti have contributed an article to a Special Issue publication on ‘Rural Life in Late Socialism: Politics of development and imaginaries of the future’ (guest edited by Phill Wilcox, Jonathan Rigg and Minh T.N. Nguyen).

Their contribution is an open access article titled ‘Rural Schooling and Good Life in Late Socialist Laos: Articulations, sketches and moments of "good time"’.

The article teases apart representations of the good life articulated in primary school textbooks and how this relates to the realities and futures of ethnic Khmu and Hmong children living in remote, rural upland spaces. It also illuminates expressions of good life by these children themselves found in the margins of the classroom and describes some moments of ‘good time’, which are treated as brief instances of a good life in the present.

Huijsmans and Piti argue that these moments of good time provide important insight into future-making in late socialism. It shows that life can indeed be good in multiple ways, but whether it stays good for all, and if so for how long, is the question.

Associate professor

Dr Roy Huijsmans

Related links
Education systems, aspiration and learning in remote rural settings