Emblen, Valerie (2012)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.
The starting point for the study is concern for the quality of education available to the rural child in Lao PDR. Donor agencies are supporting the Government of Lao in education reform and the study explores how education policy becomes practice in one small, poor, socialist, country. Using a variety of research methodologies based in critical ethnography and including interviews and observations, the study explores some significant discourses that make up the discourse of donor supported education reform. A contention of the study is meanings and ultimately changed practice are generated in action and reaction between constituent discourses, at a number of levels and in a range of contexts. Attention is given to the use and impact of the concept, ‘capacity development’, in development aid and the study questions the inexplicit manner of its use and its negative connotation. Data inspection for this study is based in Fairclough’s procedures for critical discourse analysis, with adaptation to the particular social, political, cultural and language contexts of Lao PDR. The procedure was found a useful tool for following policy into practice at classroom level. The study is also able to question how far either research or policy is emancipatory.
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