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postgraduate thesis: School education and construction of social consciousness : a comparative case study of rural migrant children in Beijing

TitleSchool education and construction of social consciousness : a comparative case study of rural migrant children in Beijing
Authors
Advisors
Advisor(s):Wang, DLaw, WW
Issue Date2017
PublisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)
Citation
Chen, J. [陈佳欣]. (2017). School education and construction of social consciousness : a comparative case study of rural migrant children in Beijing. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR.
AbstractSince the country’s economic reforms in the late 1970s, urban areas in China have witnessed an unprecedented growth in rural-to-urban migration. Although rural migrant workers contribute to China’s reform and growing competitiveness in the global market, they suffer from low social position and poor working conditions. Yet, though facing social oppressions, rural migrant workers in China tend to comply with their employer and resist in only passive ways. This phenomenon calls for research into rural migrant worker’s construction of class consciousness. Researchers argue that one’s understandings of social classes and social relations can be constructed since childhood, far before one entering into the labor market. Thus, this study focuses on the construction of social consciousness among rural migrant children, who are submerged in the socially marginalized migrant community and likely to become rural migrant workers themselves in the future. Furthermore, in the contemporary society, school education is highlighted for its significant function in transmitting particular beliefs and values about social relations to students. Also, Freire pinpointed the possibility of developing critical consciousness in the school setting. Therefore, this study examines the role of school education in constructing and reshaping rural migrant children’s social consciousness. Qualitative case studies were conducted in two Beijing primary schools, one private migrant school and one public school. Documents, observations, interviews and student questionnaires were collected. Research participants included school managers, teachers, rural migrant children and their parents. Findings revealed a duality in rural migrant children’s consciousness of social reality. Their awareness of workers’ powerlessness and being exploited provided the fundamental basis for critical consciousness development; however, their attribution of such problematic situations and intended actions to make changes proved their strong belief in meritocracy, which distracted them from questioning structural factors. Although rural migrant children were exposed to social inequalities in their family context, which provided the possibility of their developing a critical consciousness, the promotion of meritocracy in school education contributed to the construction of false consciousness. Given the difficulties of initiating open dialogues on the social inequalities facing rural migrants, it is unlikely the limited understanding of society rural migrant children developed based on their family background could be further reshaped in the school context. The thesis contributes to the literature by exploring rural migrant children’s social consciousness construction in the school setting, and discovering differences between the public and the private migrant school cases. It is expected that, this study could shed lights on the exploration of school factors restraining and facilitating the development of critical consciousness among working-class children, and help understand working-class consciousness construction in China.
DegreeDoctor of Philosophy
SubjectChina - Children of migrant laborers - Education - Beijing
Beijing - Class consciousness - China
Dept/ProgramEducation
Persistent Identifierhttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/257615

 

DC FieldValueLanguage
dc.contributor.advisorWang, D-
dc.contributor.advisorLaw, WW-
dc.contributor.authorChen, Jiaxin-
dc.contributor.author陈佳欣-
dc.date.accessioned2018-08-08T06:35:28Z-
dc.date.available2018-08-08T06:35:28Z-
dc.date.issued2017-
dc.identifier.citationChen, J. [陈佳欣]. (2017). School education and construction of social consciousness : a comparative case study of rural migrant children in Beijing. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR.-
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/257615-
dc.description.abstractSince the country’s economic reforms in the late 1970s, urban areas in China have witnessed an unprecedented growth in rural-to-urban migration. Although rural migrant workers contribute to China’s reform and growing competitiveness in the global market, they suffer from low social position and poor working conditions. Yet, though facing social oppressions, rural migrant workers in China tend to comply with their employer and resist in only passive ways. This phenomenon calls for research into rural migrant worker’s construction of class consciousness. Researchers argue that one’s understandings of social classes and social relations can be constructed since childhood, far before one entering into the labor market. Thus, this study focuses on the construction of social consciousness among rural migrant children, who are submerged in the socially marginalized migrant community and likely to become rural migrant workers themselves in the future. Furthermore, in the contemporary society, school education is highlighted for its significant function in transmitting particular beliefs and values about social relations to students. Also, Freire pinpointed the possibility of developing critical consciousness in the school setting. Therefore, this study examines the role of school education in constructing and reshaping rural migrant children’s social consciousness. Qualitative case studies were conducted in two Beijing primary schools, one private migrant school and one public school. Documents, observations, interviews and student questionnaires were collected. Research participants included school managers, teachers, rural migrant children and their parents. Findings revealed a duality in rural migrant children’s consciousness of social reality. Their awareness of workers’ powerlessness and being exploited provided the fundamental basis for critical consciousness development; however, their attribution of such problematic situations and intended actions to make changes proved their strong belief in meritocracy, which distracted them from questioning structural factors. Although rural migrant children were exposed to social inequalities in their family context, which provided the possibility of their developing a critical consciousness, the promotion of meritocracy in school education contributed to the construction of false consciousness. Given the difficulties of initiating open dialogues on the social inequalities facing rural migrants, it is unlikely the limited understanding of society rural migrant children developed based on their family background could be further reshaped in the school context. The thesis contributes to the literature by exploring rural migrant children’s social consciousness construction in the school setting, and discovering differences between the public and the private migrant school cases. It is expected that, this study could shed lights on the exploration of school factors restraining and facilitating the development of critical consciousness among working-class children, and help understand working-class consciousness construction 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.lcshChina - Children of migrant laborers - Education - Beijing-
dc.subject.lcshBeijing - Class consciousness - China-
dc.titleSchool education and construction of social consciousness : a comparative case study of rural migrant children in Beijing-
dc.typePG_Thesis-
dc.description.thesisnameDoctor of Philosophy-
dc.description.thesislevelDoctoral-
dc.description.thesisdisciplineEducation-
dc.description.naturepublished_or_final_version-
dc.date.hkucongregation2017-
dc.identifier.mmsid991043976596303414-

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