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Theses Doctoral

Tibetan Communities in Transition: An Ethnographic Study of State-run Formal Education and Social Change

Lamaozhuoma, .

State-run formal schools were established as novel educational institutions throughout the Tibetan regions in China in the 1950s. Based on a fifteen-month anthropological fieldwork in a Tibetan region in A mdo, this dissertation examines the impact of formal education on social change in Tibetan communities. Through a comprehensive analysis of: Chinese government policies; economic development; Tibetan educational models and practices; personal narratives from Tibetans of different generations; and traditional rituals, this dissertation investigates the role of formal education in Tibetan society. I argue that formal education is a main factor spurring social change in Tibetan communities. Education, through established formal institutions, integrates Tibetan communities into the national society of China, bringing close contact with non-Tibetan outsiders and binding students together with shared values and goals. This study shows that formal education is a legitimating venue through which Tibetans seek socioeconomic benefits and, as a result, education creates diversification in livelihoods and influences the dynamics of family structure, marriage patterns, identity, gender relations, and labor divisions.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Applied Anthropology
Thesis Advisors
Comitas, Lambros
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
July 7, 2014
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