The is and the ought of knowing: Ontological observations on shadow education research in Cambodia

William Brehm

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This article focuses on the limitations of terms and definitions regarding shadow education research in Cambodia. Although shadow education in Cambodia is typically defined as private tutoring taught by mainstream schoolteachers to their own students, other manifestations of it have been missed by most studies on the subject, including my own. By tracing the terms used and the definitions of shadow education in various research studies, I argue that the assumptions made over terms and definitions (i.e., what ought to be the case) limited researchers’ understanding of shadow education in its ontological evolution and complexity (i.e., what is the case). Methodologically, the unintentional recycling of the same definition across time resulted in the epistemic fallacy and concept reification. These outcomes have profound consequences for how the phenomenon may be theorized not only in Cambodia but across the Southeast Asian region. In conclusion, I propose an alternative approach to study shadow education based on critical realism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)485-503
Number of pages19
JournalSoutheast Asian Studies
Volume6
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Dec 1

Keywords

  • Cambodia
  • Critical realism
  • Methodology
  • Private tutoring
  • Shadow education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Development
  • Political Science and International Relations

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