1st Edition

Cambodia for Sale Everyday Privatization in Education and Beyond

By Will Brehm Copyright 2021
    164 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    164 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Winner of the Comparative and International Education Society’s Globalization and Education SIG Book Award

    Cambodia for Sale: Everyday Privatization in Education and Beyond details a post-conflict society that socializes children into a world of private rather than public goods. Despite the government's best efforts since the 1990s to re-constitute a functioning system of public services, life remains organized around buying and selling virtually everything, from humanitarian aid to schooling and from religious good deeds to irrigation.

    Through an ethnography of one village, Cambodia for Sale argues that efforts to rebuild Cambodia after decades of conflict have resulted in various forms of everyday privatization. Although this is most notable in the education system, these practices of privatization can be found in multiple institutions that constitute social life, from the Buddhist pagoda to local government. The various efforts of international development are as much at fault for this reality as are the legacies of the genocidal Khmer Rouge regime. This argument unfolds through the life stories of six residents of the Preah Go village, who collectively depict everyday life through overlapping village institutions, systems, and histories.

    This is an insightful and valuable reference for scholars interested in educational development, Southeast Asian studies, and comparative education.

    Introduction: Welcome to the Kingdom of Wonder 1. Everyday Privatization 2. Crises in Cambodia 3. Mainstream Schools 4. NGO Schools 5. Pagodas 6. Local Government 7. Privatization as Progress 8. Privatization Problems Conclusion: Privatization, Development, and Village Life


    Will Brehm has studied education and society in Cambodia for over 10 years. He is a lecturer of education and international development at the UCL Institute of Education, University College London, UK.

    "The evocative title of this book conveys a message of great pertinence not only in Cambodia but also globally. The patterns that Brehm describes with characteristic clarity and insight may be more subtle elsewhere but are equally significant. I trust that the book will attract a wide readership and evoke far-reaching discussion." -Mark Bray, UNESCO Chair in Comparative Education, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

    "Cambodia for Sale tells in ethnographic detail the story of childhood and life courses shaped from their outset by the privatisation of learning and wider opportunity in Cambodian society. Set within the political economy of the village, nation, and international development donorship, the book powerfully shows how private schooling and tutoring are part of a wider ecology of everyday practices and power interests tied to privatisation that will shape the future of the Southeast Asian country for decades to come." -Katherine Brickell, Professor of Human Geography, Royal Holloway, University of London, UK

    "Cambodia for Sale is a pathbreaking inquiry into the political-economy of Cambodia’s educational sector. Brehm dissects the multiple layers of intersecting interests in one rural commune of the country, implicating both national and international actors. His research demonstrates how relations of kinship, clientelism and hierarchy are reproduced in the next generation of citizens, perpetuating a long-standing top-down clan-based order through-out Cambodia’s social and economic system." - Craig Etcheson, Principal Founder of the Documentation Center of Cambodia and Visiting Scientist at T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Harvard University

    "Using the education system as a lens, Cambodia for Sale examines in granular detail the extent to which privatization has seeped into every sphere of Cambodian society, from its public school system to its Buddhist pagodas. In so doing, Brehm offers valuable insight on the dovetailing of neoliberal models of economic behavior with traditional patterns of clientelism, kinship and hierarchy, as each grows more entwined in the shadow of past conflict." -Sebastian Strangio, author of Cambodia: From Pol Pot to Hun Sen and Beyond

    "This eloquent and sophisticated book deserves a broad audience through classrooms, conferences and publications. Those interested in privatisation of education, private tutoring, the political economy, Southeast Asian studies and ethnographic research, and especially comparative education scholars, cannot afford to overlook Cambodia for Sale: Everyday Privatization in Education and Beyond." - Magda Nutsa Kobakhidze, International Review of Education