Saw Vocal Tradition in Local Schooling: The Contestation between Official Knowledge and Localized Knowledge


The prevailing discourses on Thai Education indicate that school is highly institutionalized and culturally hegemonized. It serves an important apparatus for the reproduction of state ideology in disciplining and preparing desired citizen. This paper is a conceptual paper that aims to address the question of whether school is actually a negotiating space. The paper argues that school is an opening space for negotiation and contestation for knowledge, thought, belief, and cultural politics. Based on the examination of Saw Vocal Tradition (or Lan Na Oral Poetry) contained in local curriculum in Chiang Mai province, the study found that Lan Na sociocultural capital developed in the past two decades served as the important force that made it possible for knowledge and culture of the locals to be included in local curriculum of schools, which were highly oriented to localness. When Saw Vocal Tradition as a Lanna culture product was included and represented in local curriculum, it reproduced imagined Lan Na identity, on the one hand. On the other hand, it served to reproduce 'theatrical state'. The study also revealed that the presence of Saw Vocal Tradition in the local curriculum of the schools led to the institutionalization of local knowledge to become local official knowledge. This phenomenon restricted the inclusion of other local knowledge that was not institutionalized from local curriculum in school. This study concluded that ongoing contestation in school is needed in order to provide school with choices in teaching, developing, and cherishing students.

Author Information
Nongyao Nawarat, Chiang Mai University, Thailand
Thanaphong Muensan, Chiang Mai University, Thailand

Paper Information
Conference: ACE2017
Stream: Challenging & Preserving: Culture, Inter/Multiculturalism & Language

This paper is part of the ACE2017 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon