Parenting and young children’s education in urban East Asia
The Asian Studies Research Seminar with Kristina Göransson
Questions around parental involvement in education, not only in in East Asia but also in a global context, are significant, given the increased concern in ‘population quality’ and the ever-growing education market. East Asian countries are widely recognized for their competitive education systems and for consistently topping international student assessment tests. At the same time, parents’ involvement in children’s education is increasingly taken-for-granted. This presentation explores the emotional and moral dimensions of parents’ educational work, and how they cope with complex demands in raising their young children. Based on ethnographic fieldwork in Seoul, Singapore and Beijing, it discusses the multitude of strategies parents employ to handle, sometimes conflicting, ideas of proper parenthood and childrearing, and the ways in which parents’ investments in their children’s education and development are intimately entangled with ideas about responsible parenting.
Kristina Göransson is Associate Professor in the School of Social Work at Lund University, Sweden, and holds a Ph.D. in Social Anthropology. Her research primarily concerns family, parenting, care, educational work, and gender, with a specific focus on Asia. She has carried out extensive ethnographic fieldwork in Singapore and is the author of The Binding Tie: Chinese Intergenerational Relations in Modern Singapore (University of Hawai’i Press, 2009), ‘The Mumpreneur: Intensive Motherhood, Maternal Identity and the Meaning of Educational Work in Singapore in Intersections: Gender and Sexuality in Asia and the Pacific (2016), and ‘Guiding the young child: Trajectories of parents’ educational work in Singapore’ in Families, Relationships and Societies (2021).