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Education as tautology : disparities, preferential policy measures and preparatory programs in Northwest China

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Title: Education as tautology : disparities, preferential policy measures and preparatory programs in Northwest China
Authors: Yamada, Naomi Charity Furnish
Keywords: China
discursive practices
Issue Date: Aug 2012
Publisher: [Honolulu] : [University of Hawaii at Manoa], [August 2012]
Abstract: This dissertation takes as its subject the national system of college preparatory classes (yuke ban) for ethnic minority students in China, provided on the basis of ‘preferential policy’ measures. The measures are implemented to address educational and economic disparities and to incorporate minority students from rural, autonomous areas into the system of Chinese higher education. The primary focus of this study is not the specifics of policy itself, but rather how policy is understood in the domain in which it is operational, and how it attains its own logic. This approach to policy is not from the viewpoint of the policy makers, but rather from the viewpoint of the policy affected.
Based on fieldwork conducted in Qinghai province, an area that forms a Chinese, Tibetan, Mongolian, and Muslim crossroads, I lay out two levels at which the preparatory program operates: 1) the level of rhetoric about the program and 2) the level of external reality in which the policy is implemented. At the level of rhetoric, a tautologous rationale, which does not acknowledge structural discrimination or differentiate between Han and other ethnic groups, presents education as a composite and arbitrary set of skills which are deemed to be of cultural value; students who do not have or do not acquire such skills are construed to be less educated. On another level, however, institutional discourse comes up for challenge at the level of locally-specific enactments. Resolution with institutional models is still elusive in minority autonomous spaces, and zones of contradiction open up. In this dissertation, I argue that the preferential policy measures function to address contradictions that are concealed at the level of rhetoric.
Description: Ph.D. University of Hawaii at Manoa 2012.
Includes bibliographical references.
Appears in Collections:Anthropology Ph.D Dissertations
Ph.D. - Anthropology

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