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Cultural Endangerment and Education: Educational Analysis of Changes in Cultural Transmission of the Dongba Dance Tradition of the Naxi People in Lijiang, Yunnan, China

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Many traditional ethnic cultural items are being endangered in China. Using the Dongba dance culture of the Naxi people as a case study, this paper seeks to analyze and interpret the endangerment of culture from an educational perspective, based on an analysis of the interaction between the cultural transmission mechanism of Dongba dance and the formal schooling of the Naxi people in Lijiang, China. By describing and comparing the traditional and current forms of Dongba dance transmission, the paper shows how the institution of formal education competes with older modes of cultural transmission, resulting in the endangerment of Dongba dance as a living cultural relic. So, in order to truly realize and improve the function of education in transmitting cultural heritage and to guarantee educational equity, we should prioritize sophisticated ethnic minority cultural items in the assessment and selection phases of education, grant them institutional cultural capital, and put greater effort into developing an appropriate school-based curriculum so that ethnic minority culture may be transmitted and inherited via formal schooling.


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