Educational desires, intensive parenting and shifting notions of childhood and learning among Chinese Singaporeans

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract


This paper seeks to expand our lens on educational desires, parenting and shifting notions of childhood and learning in East Asia and beyond. While not explicitly centered on migration, I suggest that the educational mobilities needs to be understood in relation to a growing tension between parents’ desire to achieve conventional success and the desire to nurture the child’s emotional well-being. East Asian education systems are globally renowned for their high academic standards and for producing students who excel in international assessment tests and rankings. At the same time, there has been a shift of attention in education policy towards social-emotional competencies and well-being. While a top-notch education is still considered crucial to foster a competitive population, childhood is increasingly supposed to be happy and stress free. In this context, parents, mothers in particular, are expected to perform task-oriented educational work, but also to cultivate their children’s desire to learn. It is well established in previous research that children’s education and development is a pivotal dimension of (middle-class) parenting, but there is a lack of ethnographically grounded studies on the complex and contradictory demands surrounding contemporary parenthood in the domain of education. By highlighting the complex emotional and moral dimensions of Chinese Singaporean parents’ educational labor, this paper attempts to contest simplistic interpretations ‘Asian parenting cultures’.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2023 Feb 3
EventCHERN - China in Europe Research Network: Chinese Educational Mobilities in Europe and Beyond” - Online
Duration: 2023 Feb 32023 Feb 3


WorkshopCHERN - China in Europe Research Network

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Social Work


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