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postgraduate thesis: Learning to be ethnic : the case of Tibetans in Minzu University of China

TitleLearning to be ethnic : the case of Tibetans in Minzu University of China
Authors
Issue Date2014
PublisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)
Citation
Yang, M. [阳妙艳]. (2014). Learning to be ethnic : the case of Tibetans in Minzu University of China. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.5353/th_b5185917.
AbstractThe last three decades have witnessed an increase in empirical studies on ethnic identities in China, although few have focused on Tibetan ethnicity in the context of higher education. This study addressed the gap by examining Tibetan students’ ethnic identities in Minzu University of China (MUC), the nation’s leading university for ethnic minorities. MUC was established to achieve the state’s goal of national integration and ethnic solidarity. The formal and informal curricula within MUC placed a great emphasis on political education, aiming to transform the minority students into patriotic ethnic cadres. This study addressed two main research questions: 1) What is the role of ethnic minority education in directing and shaping Tibetan university students’ ethnic identities? 2) How do Tibetan students respond to ethnic minority education? This study utilized a conceptual framework that was developed from two social constructionist approaches. Fieldwork took place on campus between March 2011 and April 2012. Data triangulation was achieved through four research methods: interviews, participant observation, documents and field notes. The study found that the Tibetan students responded differently to the state goal by internalizing, compromising or even rejecting state ideologies. Data analyses revealed four patterns of ethnic identification among the Tibetan students based on their different academic tracks: 1) For the min kao min students in Tibetan studies, being Tibetan means assuming an ethnic mission of promoting Tibetan language and culture; 2) For the min kao min students in other majors, being Tibetan embodies having a different physical appearance, wearing different clothing, engaging in different religious practices, holding cultural beliefs and generally under-achieving academically in Han-dominant settings; 3) For the inland Tibetan school graduates, being Tibetan means having a reflective awareness of their cultural and language loss due to their dislocated schooling and a determination to make up for the past by innovatively initiating, organizing or participating in Tibetan cultural programs; 4) For the min kao han students, being Tibetan is simply a symbolic identity that they sometimes utilize to gain preferential treatments. With the exception of most of the min kao han students, Tibetan identity has been revitalized and strengthened after studying and living in MUC. In the process, the unity of the Tibetan group has been promoted and enhanced. Tibetan students‘ different approaches to ethnic identification provide us with useful lessons about ethnic identity dynamics in relation to education, culture, and ethnic politics. As opposed to other interpretations that see Tibetans as exotic ethnic others, this study reveals that Tibetan students‘ ethnic identification is meaningful when they strategically negotiate with the Han-Chinese-dominant narratives. This study contributes to the understanding of ethnic politics and interethnic dynamics in China.
DegreeDoctor of Philosophy
SubjectTibetans - Education (Higher) - China
Tibetans - Ethnic identity
Dept/ProgramEducation
Persistent Identifierhttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/248963
HKU Library Item IDb5185917

 

DC FieldValueLanguage
dc.contributor.authorYang, Miaoyan-
dc.contributor.author阳妙艳-
dc.date.accessioned2017-10-20T03:09:19Z-
dc.date.available2017-10-20T03:09:19Z-
dc.date.issued2014-
dc.identifier.citationYang, M. [阳妙艳]. (2014). Learning to be ethnic : the case of Tibetans in Minzu University of China. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.5353/th_b5185917.-
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/248963-
dc.description.abstractThe last three decades have witnessed an increase in empirical studies on ethnic identities in China, although few have focused on Tibetan ethnicity in the context of higher education. This study addressed the gap by examining Tibetan students’ ethnic identities in Minzu University of China (MUC), the nation’s leading university for ethnic minorities. MUC was established to achieve the state’s goal of national integration and ethnic solidarity. The formal and informal curricula within MUC placed a great emphasis on political education, aiming to transform the minority students into patriotic ethnic cadres. This study addressed two main research questions: 1) What is the role of ethnic minority education in directing and shaping Tibetan university students’ ethnic identities? 2) How do Tibetan students respond to ethnic minority education? This study utilized a conceptual framework that was developed from two social constructionist approaches. Fieldwork took place on campus between March 2011 and April 2012. Data triangulation was achieved through four research methods: interviews, participant observation, documents and field notes. The study found that the Tibetan students responded differently to the state goal by internalizing, compromising or even rejecting state ideologies. Data analyses revealed four patterns of ethnic identification among the Tibetan students based on their different academic tracks: 1) For the min kao min students in Tibetan studies, being Tibetan means assuming an ethnic mission of promoting Tibetan language and culture; 2) For the min kao min students in other majors, being Tibetan embodies having a different physical appearance, wearing different clothing, engaging in different religious practices, holding cultural beliefs and generally under-achieving academically in Han-dominant settings; 3) For the inland Tibetan school graduates, being Tibetan means having a reflective awareness of their cultural and language loss due to their dislocated schooling and a determination to make up for the past by innovatively initiating, organizing or participating in Tibetan cultural programs; 4) For the min kao han students, being Tibetan is simply a symbolic identity that they sometimes utilize to gain preferential treatments. With the exception of most of the min kao han students, Tibetan identity has been revitalized and strengthened after studying and living in MUC. In the process, the unity of the Tibetan group has been promoted and enhanced. Tibetan students‘ different approaches to ethnic identification provide us with useful lessons about ethnic identity dynamics in relation to education, culture, and ethnic politics. As opposed to other interpretations that see Tibetans as exotic ethnic others, this study reveals that Tibetan students‘ ethnic identification is meaningful when they strategically negotiate with the Han-Chinese-dominant narratives. This study contributes to the understanding of ethnic politics and interethnic dynamics in China.-
dc.languageeng-
dc.publisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)-
dc.relation.ispartofHKU Theses Online (HKUTO)-
dc.rightsThe author retains all proprietary rights, (such as patent rights) and the right to use in future works.-
dc.rightsThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.-
dc.subject.lcshTibetans - Education (Higher) - China-
dc.subject.lcshTibetans - Ethnic identity-
dc.titleLearning to be ethnic : the case of Tibetans in Minzu University of China-
dc.typePG_Thesis-
dc.identifier.hkulb5185917-
dc.description.thesisnameDoctor of Philosophy-
dc.description.thesislevelDoctoral-
dc.description.thesisdisciplineEducation-
dc.description.naturepublished_or_final_version-
dc.identifier.doi10.5353/th_b5185917-

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