Remain, return, or re-migration? The (im)mobility trajectory of mainland Chinese students after completing their education in the UK

Tu, M., & Nehring, D. (2019). Remain, Return, or Re-migrate? The (Im)mobility Trajectory of Mainland Chinese Students after Completing Their Education in the UK. International Migration, 1-15. doi: 10.1111/imig.12589


Dr Mengwei Tu, East China University of Science and Technology

Daniel Nehring

Dr Daniel Nehring, East China University of Science and Technology

This article examines post-study transnational mobility among Chinese graduates with degrees from British universities, against the backdrop of recent developments in global higher education, in international labour markets and in international migration policy. British universities host the second largest overseas Chinese student population, one third of non-EU students in the UK are from China, and China is the only country showing a significant increase in student numbers between 2012-2017. Recent articles in The Times in May 2019 repeatedly highlight the record-high Chinese students to the UK in the latest statistics and that the on-going China-US trade war is likely to channel more Chinese students away from the US to the UK.

While Chinese international student mobility and participation in overseas higher education have been extensively discussed, much less attention has been devoted to the transnational mobility of Chinese students following the conclusion of their degrees, in the context of their study-to-employment transition. However, with ‘credential inflation’ in China in recent years, the direct short-term benefit of a Western degree on individual’s socioeconomic mobility has undergone doubt and re-interpretation. While capital accumulation and transnational mobility still feature as a main drive behind students’ motivation, their expectations increasingly point to the potential of gaining overseas professional work experience and a wider transnational social network. Such an expectation necessarily prolongs the “study abroad” period. Young graduates are thus exposed to a constantly changing local and transnational socioeconomic environment during a particularly unstable stage of their lives. As a result, Chinese graduates in the 21st Century are faced with a more complex process in terms of capital accumulation and conversion at a transnational level, which in turn shape the outcome of their migration decisions and their socioeconomic status.

How do we understand the relationship between overseas education and transnational mobility (including spatial and social mobility) of these Chinese graduates? Recent data in The Times in 2019 show that non-EU students who stayed to work in the UK after their graduation earn more than their British counterparts in almost every subject. While the UK benefits from the tax paid from these earnings and the much-demanded skills contributed by post-study migrants, its current migration policy does not facilitate, but rather limits, overseas graduates’ employment opportunities. In China, overseas-educated returnees’ have an average salary higher than that of their China-educated peers. Nevertheless, according to a survey conducted by the Center for China & Globalisation, among the Chinese students who had returned and worked in China in 2017, 68.9% expressed great disappointment in their salary, and nearly half of the respondents felt that overseas education did not help their career.  Clearly, in both China and the UK it is difficult to assess the impact of overseas education on graduates’ mobility trajectory.

Our objective is to bring out the changes in graduates’ perception of education, migration and mobility in the context of both micro-level personal life stage development (e.g. significant life event transitions) and macro-level socioeconomic changes in host/home countries (e.g. global redistribution of employment opportunities). On the basis of our observation of various outcomes of study-to-employment transitions, we compare the understandings of mobility between those graduates who remained in the UK and those who returned to China, as well as different understandings of mobility perceived by the same individual at different stages of their study and migration journey.  Finally, we discuss how the fluidity and nuance of subjective perception on mobility shape individuals’ spatial mobility (and immobility) against the static, narrowing migration policy in the UK.

These findings have significant implication for debates surrounding British migration policy. Uncertainty about the future of British education in the context of Brexit, ongoing debates about the inclusion of international students in net migration figures, and growing calls for the government to provide an “expanded post-study work offer for overseas students” highlight significant tensions in British migration policy as to the current and future status of international students. Our article contributes to the resolution of these policy tensions in three ways.

First, British universities frequently use the term “student experience” as a marketing slogan. However, beyond the commercialised language of contemporary higher education, our findings articulate Chinese international students’ perception of “student experience”: the opportunity to study abroad becomes tied to the potential for multiple forms of academic, personal, and professional development. Post-education mobility in the host country is greately valued among the more recent (potential) students. There is an urgent need for immigration policy to recognise the factors that may render Britain a desirable destination for highly-skilled young migrants, particularly given the likely loss of highly-skilled migration from Europe post Brexit.

Second, our study has shown Chinese graduates’ decision-making processes when it comes to remaining in the UK after the conclusion of their studies. Recourse to the British public welfare system was not mentioned at all by our participants. This calls into question the narrative of immigrants’ troubling overreliance on the welfare system that has long informed a trend towards restrictive immigration policies in the UK.

Third, our findings contribute to calling into question the policy package that has sought to turn the UK into a hostile environment for immigrants. This policy package has extended border controls inwards, requiring extensive policing of all migrants’ activities on the part of landlords, health care providers, banks, and other institutions. As has been widely reported, many highly-skilled immigrants find themselves targeted and even singled out for deportation in the context of the hostile environment framework. In contrast, our study highlights how highly-skilled young Chinese people consciously choose to make Britain a home for their professional and personal development, thus contributing in important ways to British society. The hostile environment arguably risks undermining these contributions by destabilising the social position of immigrants such as the women and men who participated in our study.

Authors bio

Mengwei BookDr Mengwei Tu is Lecturer in Sociology at East China University of Science and Technology, Shanghai. Her research is about international migration with a focus on education-related migration from and to China. She explores China’s role as a migrant-sending and migrant-receiving country as well as how individuals navigate education, career and family relations across borders. She is the author of book Education, Migration and Family Relations between China and the UK: The Transnational One-Child Generation (Emerald, 2018) and several articles in international journals such as Children’s Geographies and International Migration. Currently she is leading a project “Students/graduates form Belt-and-Road countries in China: migration network and career trajectory” funded by the National Social Science Fund in China.

Dr Daniel Nehring is Associate Professor of Sociology at East China University of Science and Technology in Shanghai. His research concerns transformations of personal life under conditions of globalisation and rapid social change. In this context, he pursues two lines of research. One is concerned with experiences of transnationalism among the highly mobile highly skilled. In this context, he has conducted research on Chinese-Western transnational families in China and in the UK, and he is currently in the very early stages of a new project on Western academics of migration and career formation in China. Second, his work is concerned with the transnational production, circulation and consumption of psychotherapeutically informed discourses and practices of personal life. He has is a founder and convenor of the international academic network Popular Psychology, Self-Help Culture and the Happiness Industry, and he is currently working on the Handbook of Global Therapeutic Cultures (Routledge, 2020) and a research project on the commodification of mindfulness medication. He is the author of five books, including Therapeutic Worlds (Routledge, 2019) and Transnational Popular Psychology and the Global Self-Help Industry (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016), and his work has been published in international journals such as Consumption Markets & Culture, Modern China, and Sexualities.


Transitioning to an independent researcher: Reconciling the conceptual conflicts in cross-cultural doctoral supervision

Minghua Wu & Yanjuan Hu (2019): Transitioning to an independent researcher: reconciling the conceptual conflicts in cross-cultural doctoral supervision, Studies in Continuing Education, https://doi.org/10.1080/0158037X.2019.1615423


Dr Minghua Wu, Chongqing University, China


Dr Yanjuan Hu, Southwest University, China

This recently published article reveals how misunderstandings arose and evolved from mismatched assumptions during the cross-cultural learning process experienced by a successful doctoral candidate. To gain an in-depth understanding of the causes of the often implicit conceptual conflicts between Western supervisors and their Chinese doctoral students, a blend of autoethnography and interactive interview are used to codify, analyze and ultimately further intercultural discourse. We assumed that the conceptual conflicts involved in cross-cultural doctoral research can be reconciled and structured in ways that can assist student development, which in this case is the transformation towards an independent researcher. We reconsidered the possible roles of misunderstandings as catalysts for positive development of independent judgment in three key ways: developing self-confidence in driving my own research; re-conceptualizing ‘critical thinking’; and re-evaluating my own gendered social construction as an independent researcher.

Conceptual conflicts widely exist at different stages of a doctoral research study but are hard to recognize in daily supervisory practices. This study uses the model of turning points to highlight the differences in education and cultural mismatches that may occur in transcultural settings. We also give three examples of such points: supervision instruction, definition of critical thinking, and the social construction of gender values. Our example shows that implicit differences in the expression of these ideas is an area that needs to be more clearly stated for both parties to have a better working relationship.

The first conflict arose from a confusion regarding the expected level of supervisor instruction being provided in the actual supervision meetings. In our case, this conflict was also rooted in Chinese educational background, which was highly structured. Our reflection pointed to a lack of autonomy-related training. The second conflict refers to a mismatched expression of critical thinking, which is both culturally and educationally grounded. In this conflict, I was too quick to doubt myself to lack critical thinking upon hearing this evaluation from my supervisor. In the Chinese context, critiques are not often welcomed from a subordinate, and can be easily frowned upon when people lack the skill to express critique in a respectful, friendly and constructive manner. Whereas our example shows that implicit and embedded critique of authority added to the understanding of critical thinking. The final conflict identified in this study focuses on the restructuring of a socially dependent and conservative gender identity into that of an independent academic researcher. My new, developing identity is continuously constructed through self-evaluation and opinion sharing.

In addition to my self-reflections as discussed above, there were other support mechanisms that helped me solve conflicts in a productive and character-building way. The Integrated Bridging Program (IBP) offered by the University of A help me acclimatize to western academia. I was also fortunate to have a Chinese supervisor to act as a mediator in helping me to overcome and capitalize on conceptual conflict barriers. She was able to clarify my Australian supervisors’ expectation, explain the targets set for me to complete my thesis, and share her experiences of transcultural differences in methodology both in Chinese and English. There were also a number of workshops and resources recommended by both my Australian supervisors and Chinese supervisor to help me develop my English academic writing.


Authors Bio

Book coverDr Minghua Wu is an Associated Professor in the School of Journalism and Communication at Chongqing University, China. She has been working at Chongqing University since 2014 after she gained her PhD in the Discipline of Media at the University of Adelaide, Australia. Her doctoral research was “Chinese new media cultures in transition: Weibo and the Carnivalesque” which is published as a book by Peter Lang, ISBN: 978-1-4331-5229-0. DOI: https://doi.org/10.3726/b15312. Her research interests include new media and society, cross-cultural communication and high education innovation. She can be contacted at minghuawu@cqu.edu.cn

Dr. Yanjuan Hu is an associate professor in Higher Education at the Faculty of Education, Southwest University, China. She obtained her PhD in 2014 from Leiden University Graduate School of Teaching, the Netherlands. She worked at as a postdoc researcher (2016-2018) at the department of teacher education, University of Groningen, the Netherlands. Yanjuan has published in international peer-reviewed journals, including Higher Education, Higher Education Research & Development, Innovations in Education and Teaching International, Higher Education Policy, Studies in Continuing Education, Studying Teacher Education. Her research interests include transcultural learning and research supervision, teacher professional development, workplace learning, and research-based teaching. She can be reached at huy@swu.edu.cn


The untold stories of two educationally mobile Mongolian and Tibetan students in China

Xu, C. L., & Yang, M. (2019). Ethnicity, temporality and educational mobilities: Comparing the ethnic identity constructions of Mongolian and Tibetan students in China. British Journal of Sociology of Education. doi: 10.1080/01425692.2019.1576121

Dr Lingling XU (Cora)

Dr Cora Lingling Xu, Keele University, UK

YANG Miaoyan

Dr Miaoyan Yang, Xiamen University, China

Guoxiang (a pseudonym), a female Mongolian student from China’s Inner Mongolia, has just received a job offer in a US law firm, having completed her undergraduate studies in Hong Kong and is about to finish her Law training in the US. Before leaving Inner Mongolia, Guoxiang went to a Han-language school, feeling like a ‘normal’ person until she started getting bombarded by questions such as ‘do you live in a Mongolian tent?’ and ‘are you good at archery?’ at university.

Dolkar (a pseudonym), a female Tibetan student, moved away from home to study in inland schools (neidi ban, established for ethnic minority students in Han-dominated areas) since age 12. Now, aged 23, she has just resat the Postgraduate Entrance Examination, hoping to get a Master’s degree which will allow her to ‘voice out’ her discontent and ‘fight for the rights’ of her people.

It is widely documented that ethnic minorities in China are severely disadvantaged economically and educationally, when compared with the Han-majority population. However, little is known about the experiences of those ethnic minority students, such as Guoxiang and Dolkar, who have been given opportunities to move across or even outside China for educational purposes. In this article, we tell the stories of Guoxiang (2013-2018) and Dolkar (2011-2018) by tracking their education mobility experiences. We argue that there is dynamic temporal multiplicity in the ethnic identity construction of these two students. This multiplicity of temporality is manifested in three aspects: temporality of ethnic othering; temporality of ethnic identity awakening; and temporality of ‘worldly time’ and ‘ethnic time’. Both ‘worldly time’ and ‘ethnic time’ entail distinctive understandings about these students’ pace and priorities in life. Both students defer their ‘permanent’ ethnic identity to an imagined future. Yet, adopting the gaze of the dominant others, both students subconsciously constructed an essentialist view of their ethnic cultures as fixed and stable, and those of the dominant cultures as alive and fluid.

The data are drawn from two different research projects conducted separately by Cora (2013–2018) and by Miaoyan (2011–2018). In 2013, Guoxiang participated in a longitudinal project in which Cora explored the identity construction of 31 mainland Chinese students who crossed the border to study at a Hong Kong university. Dolkar (a pseudonym) was a key informant in Miaoyan’s research project entitled ‘University as a Site of Ethnic Identity Construction’, which started in March 2011.Both students are from middle-class family backgrounds and have achieved considerable mobilities in their respective journeys. Details can be referred to in the table below.

ethnicity table

Using temporality as an analytical construct, this article set out to explore the impact of educational mobilities on the ethnic identity construction of students from two different ethnic groups in China. By juxtaposing in-depth empirical data of a Mongolian student and a Tibetan student from two separate research projects, we presented some intriguing similarities with nuanced differences in their ethnic identity construction by examining the intersections between ethnicity, temporality and mobilities. Three patterns of temporalities are deployed in the students’ temporal processes of ethnic identity construction: temporality of ethnic othering; temporality of ethnic identity awakening; and temporality of ‘worldly time’ and ‘ethnic time’.

The two minority students were both from middle-class family backgrounds and were privileged to access educational opportunities through mobility. Guoxiang experienced cross-border educational mobility by completing her preparatory education in Beijing, her bachelor’s degree at a Hong Kong university, working in Beijing and later pursuing a master’s degree in the United States. Dolkar’s educational mobility started as early as 12 years old. Having been immersed in dominant Han culture for a long time, both students were alienated in various ways as their ‘authenticity’ was challenged by ethnic peers. This effectively subjected them to the peripheries of their respective ethnic communities. Meanwhile, their families’ higher socio-economic status and their familiarity with dominant Han culture have not exempted them from suffering ethnic stereotypes, prejudices and discriminations.In China’s current scheme of ethnic hierarchies, cultures of ethnic minorities are so exoticised,eroticised and historicised that they mainly serve as entertaining subjects in the margins of the dominant group’s private and public life (Gladney 1994; Yang 2017b, 9; Yi 2008, 111). In Hong Kong, the ‘mainlander’ versus ‘Hongkonger’ tensions and the lack of attention paid to ethnic minorities could present an added layer of alienation (Xu 2018).

For a long time, both students had internalised such marginalised and voiceless ethnic statuses while shutting away from any ethnic talk that might further disempower them. Critical incidents at certain stages of their educational mobilities had awakened them to their ethnicities. In Guoxiang’s case, Mumu served as an ethnic role model who empowered her positive ethnic imagination. For Dolkar, the Sociology of Education class on ‘educational equality’ served as a catalyst for ethnic revelation. Witnessing the constant marginalisation and voicelessness of their ethnic groups, they finally felt the urge to ‘voice out’ their discontent and to ‘fight for the rights’ of their ethnic groups, although their strategies were still conditioned by the majority/minority, dominant/dominated, powerful/powerless, central/peripheral and visible/invisible dichotomies. Sensing that ‘ethnicity is a luxury’ at the current paradigm of time thrift, they prioritised their ‘worldly’ pursuits of social status,monetary and materialistic goals, and simultaneously resorted to leaving their respective ethnic explorations for the future. This can be explained by their temporal mode of striving and the redemptive nature of their thinking in relation to their ethnic identity and ethnic cultural heritage.

Concomitantly, we note two schemes of time from Guoxiang’s and Dolkar’s reflective accounts: that of ‘worldly time’ and that of ‘ethnic time’, each of which entails a distinctive set of understandings about pace in life, priorities and importance. For Guoxiang, her ‘worldly time’ was closely linked to a cosmopolitan orientation in which she prioritised engaging with the outside world not only within China but also abroad. For Dolkar, her ‘worldly time’ was intently tied to a national focus that foregrounded time to compete with Han peers within the national ethnic hierarchy to establish and empower herself with a voice. There was thus notable perceived time poverty when it came to ‘ethnic time’, primarily owing to the overwhelming urgency to prioritise other worldly pursuits in order to gain their foothold with a view to getting their voices heard. Consequently, ‘ethnic time’ took a backseat, deferred to the imagined future. Here, we observe the formation of ‘hybridised’ethnic identities which transcend the essentialised ‘old ethnicities’ (Hall 2005) through their various and multiple mobile educational experiences, evoking Hall’s (2003, 235) characterisation of diaspora identities which ‘live with and through, not despite, difference, by hybridity’and are ‘constantly producing and reproducing themselves anew, through transformation and difference’.


While it is not our intent to generalise our findings to all educationally mobile ethnic minority students in China, we argue that these two ‘rhythms of timelines’ (Thompson and Cook 2017, 33) extrapolated from the in-depth and longitudinal accounts of these two students reveal a striking array of structural and social inequalities embedded in educational mobilities and ethnic relations in contemporary China. The dominant group’s consistent stereotypical negative portrayals of and indifference towards ethnic minorities we find in this study have served as a crystallising factor in demarcating the timelines of their search for ethnicity. Although preferential treatment (positive discrimination) has been offered to ethnic minorities to counter this structural inequality, the image of ethnic minorities as ‘preferentially treated’ and ‘less capable’ (Yang 2017b, 239) has re-consolidated their marginalisation in the current unequal ethnic structure, which has the potential to deprive ethnic identities and cultures. Therefore, our findings in this article not only stimulate discussions and debates on ethnicity, temporality and educational mobility, but also contribute to ‘making and implementing policies of social inclusion for migrant and indigenous ethnic minorities’ in China (Li and Heath 2017, 1).

Our reflections concerning Guoxiang’s and Dolkar’s ethnic identities constructions point to fruitful analytical engagement with ‘temporality’ in ethnic terms. First, ‘temporality’ is closely linked to the changing locations and relocations of ethnic minority groups. Second, time can be multi-dimensional and can be designated for inward or outward explorations.Adopting the gaze of the dominant others, Guoxiang and Dolkar subconsciously constructed an essentialist view of their ethnic cultures and conceptualised their ethnic identities as fixed, stable and ‘always there waiting to be retrieved’. In contrast, the dominant cultures are conceptualised as alive and fluid. For both students, critical incidents along their educational mobilities have not only empowered them in ethnic terms, but also awakened them to sense a pronounced distance from their own ethnic cultures. This distance is emotional and primordial. Hence, the entanglement of space and distance also offers useful insights for understanding ‘temporality’, especially if we examine their ethnic identities over an extended period.


Authors Bio

Dr Cora Lingling Xu (PhD, Cambridge, FHEA) is Lecturer in Education at Keele University, UK. She is an editorial board member of British Journal of Sociology of Education and Cambridge Journal of Education. She also serves on the international advisory boards of Polish Journal of Education Studies, Beijing International Review of Education and on_education. In 2017, Cora founded the Network for Research into Chinese Education Mobilities. Cora has published in international peer-reviewed journals, including British Journal of Sociology of Education, The Sociological Review, International Studies in Sociology of Education, Review of Education, European Educational Research Journal and Journal of Current Chinese Affairs. Her research interests include Bourdieu’s theory of practice, education mobilities and inequalities and China studies. She can be reached at l.xu@keele.ac.uk, and via Twitter @CoraLinglingXu.

Learning to be tibetanDr Miaoyan Yang (PhD, the University of Hong Kong) is an associate professor in the Sociology Department, School of Sociology and Anthropology, Xiamen University. As a researcher of minority education, she has a particular interest in the Tibetan, Uyghur and Mongolian ethnic minority communities, employing them as a showcase of ethnic politics in China with reference to issues such as education, mobility, citizenship, ethnicity, identity and culture. She is author of the book Learning to be Tibetan: the construction of ethnic identity at Minzu University of China (Lexington, 2017) and a number of publications in Citizenship Studies, Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development and other journals. She is the Harvard-Yenching Visiting Scholarship recipient for year 2018-2019. She can be contacted at miaoyanyang@163.com.



Underclass and education: An educational truth of the underclass in an Agricultural County in Western China


Tao Li

Dr Tao Li, Northeast China Normal University

The impoverished underclass in our society should be given particular attention by scholars and politicians. People’s real living conditions and miscellaneous problems on this hierarchy directly and clearly reveal the truth that, while the Chinese government has achieved huge accomplishments since the reform and opening-up policy, nonetheless, imbalance obviously exists between the rural and the urban, among different regions, different industries as well as different social classes; inequality implicitly exists in the structural and relational landscape of the social and political institutions. Meanwhile, designing and implementing the “Differentiated Compensation” (Cha Yi Bu Chang 差异补偿) policy, which has been politically legitimized by most nations to address the issue of social justice, is still quite formidable and challenging. The underclass population, which is impotent in articulation and highly under-represented, has no control on its own fate, and therefore highly relies on the nation’s conscience. Academic researchers and policymakers being the major agents to help representation of the underclass, their attitudes, either to neglect, to lead, to objectively judge, to sympathize, to understand, or to be considerate or integrated, become a crucial question. Ultimately, it is essential for the above two agents to reveal the underclass group’s true demands for interests, to understand their complex behavioral logic, and to design public policies which could effectively represent and address the underclass problems.

Based on multifactor analysis, the author selected Jie County, an agriculture dominated county in western China as a representative underclass field to conduct longitudinal empirical survey and collect both quantitative and qualitative data. Adopting the perspective of education, the author aims to uncover the educational obstacles and factors hidden on the four dimensions of the underclass, community, family, school, and the whole population as a group, that lead to the vicious circle of issues and dilemmas in the underclass. The main findings of the study are as follows:

First, regarding the underclass community, the author conducted a comprehensive historic review of the evolution of the township schools against the background of the national and societal structural changes as well as educational policy evolution during the 115 years from 1990 to 2014. The review found that the rural schools, regarded as center for education and civilization in the underclass field, experienced aggravated decline due to both external interferences and internal deviations. The phenomenon of massive consolidation of rural schools in modern China is named “bottom-up literacy promotion (Wen Zi Shang Yi 文字上移)” by scholars, an opposite to the historical phenomenon of massive construction of rural schools, known as “top-down literacy universalization (Wen Zi Xia Xiang文字下乡),” has led to educational dilemmas in the underclass. Based on discourse analysis and field observation with various participants on various field sites, the author found that the “Wen Zi Shang Yi” phenomenon is resulted from both external social incentives and internal educational motives. The former include village culture subaltern to the urban culture, the breakdown of the knowledge and power in villages, impotent articulation of self interests of the underclass, educational poverty under the consumption mentality, while the latter include low attraction to rural teachers, lack of staff quota, and excessive administrative control. In order to make a difference to the current dilemma of declining education development in villages due to the “Wen Zi Shang Yi” movement, the author adopts the anti-normative theory of justice and the perspective of social stratification, and puts forth a new strategy of public policy designing framework for the underclass.

Second, as for the underclass families, the author was among the first to conduct an empirical study among the farmer families, the individual farmers, students and parents in a subaltern administrative villages to address the topic of “education utility”, and the research has led to six findings as follows. (a) According to the data of the indicator of “children’s general education status”, families with children who are in schools hold higher recognition of literacy utility than families with children who have already finished education in schools. However, in the survey to the former families, it is found that the higher education stage their children are taking, the lower the recognition of the usefulness of education. While among the latter families, the ones that hold the highest recognition are those who have no children under education or children dropped off at the compulsory education stage. At the same time, those whose children completed high school study take up the highest proportion among families holding the position of education uselessness. (b) In accordance with data regarding ” attachment between farmers and land”, the more dependency on land work revenue in the family income, the higher the families regard education as useless. (c) According to data analysis of the indicator of “fortune and status”, “affluent families” with annual household income between 50,000 and 100,000 yuan hold the highest recognition of education utility. And yet, more families whose annual household income is below 10,000 yuan consider education as useless comparing with other groups. Besides this, from the data of “family structure/status”, it is shown that families with single parent domination hold lower regard for the usefulness of children’s education. (d) In terms of “gender of children”, many more families with girls regard education as useless than those with boys. (e) More male than female farmers show agreement on insignificance of education, while compared with other social groups, more students and their parents consider education useful. (f) Although most individuals think that education is useful in rural families, the number of those who think education is useless is still a considerable proportion. In addition, there is inconsistency between their words and behavior. Therefore, as we can see from all the data-based findings, the mentality of “education is useless” deeply and widely exists in the underclass of the society.

Third, from the perspective of underclass schools, the author puts forward that the underlying secret of the subaltern microscopic reproduction is achieved in the underclass schools by the “anti-school culture” among students and the seats arrangement by teachers based on qualitative studies in Yun Town, Jie County. During the study, a total of 22 eight graders and nine graders are recruited from a nine-year compulsory school as participants. Based on observation and interviews, it is discovered that the anti-school culture represented by these participants consists of despising their teachers, creating a mess in the classroom, expressing protest against the school authorities through language and behavior, organizing multiple types of peers groups (based on brotherhood, mentorship, relative relations, love affair relations etc.) to express group based protest through violence, theft and other misbehavior. To some extent, such anti-school culture is similar to but not the same as the culture created by “Lads” in the industrial towns in the UK and the “Migrant Children” in migrant workers’ children schools in Beijing. Specific characteristics are as follows: (a) compared to Lads’ superiority and the Migrant Children’s inferiority, the teenager participants in Yun Town have an alternative mentality mixed with “losers” and “tyrants” mentality. (b) By comparison to the Lads who have an obvious negative attitude to knowledge and diplomas and the Migrant Children who have a clear “affirmative” goal for diplomas, the teenager participants convey non-uniformity and fuzzy in words and behavior toward their recognition of knowledge and diploma. (c) The Lads apparently have reached a “partial insight” about the truth of the educational structure and system, whereas the Migrant Children are definitely blind of it, and participants in Yun Town also have “partial insight” into education. Furthermore, by researching the seating in the eighth and ninth grades in the school, the study has found the eighth grade has a “center-periphery” seating arrangement in order to “shape role models”, while the ninth grade has the function-based front-back seating arrangement. The seat arrangement forged individual students to build a so called self-identity according to the space based position in the class, which led to different learning experiences, shaped different levels of study groups as well as their corresponding behavior, and even implicitly filtered students to different life and professional tracks after they graduate from schools.

Fourth, regarding the underclass population as a whole group, the author analyzed the deeply rooted educational obstacles for the group in their pursuit of the “Chinese Dream,” which is a newly created concept by the Chinese government highlighting more concerns for the underclass group. To facilitate the analysis, the author classified the underclass group into two sub-groups, the group that stays in villages and the group that leaves the villages. For the former group, the author analyzed the mechanism system from kindergarten education to the job market, and found that there are various educational factors hindering the group to realize the “Chinese Dream”, including, ignorance of early childhood education, injustice of the nearest school placement policy, difficulties in the development of compulsory education in the underclass schools, the structure diversion factors after junior school, the weakening family social and economic status, dualistic labor market segmentation, difficulties in the employment, mobility and integration in urban areas. For the other sub group, the author attempted to understand the challenges from the perspective of the major policy issue of migrant students’ right to participate in national college entrance exam in cities. And it is found that no matter whether the policy is against or supportive to migrant students’ right to the exam, the policy is of little help for the underclass group to achieve their Chinese dream. On the one hand, if the migrant students are still not permitted to participate in the national college entrance exam in cities, the migrant underclass students will be deprived of equal resources in higher education, equal college financial supply, equal chances of national college admission and other institutional resources for them to realize their “Chinese Dream.” On the other hand, even if the policy allows migrant students to participate in the exam, it is likely to bring up the following risks: (a) it would be a misfortune for the underclass in cities and a sacrifice of their previous benefits; (b) the migrant underclass workers cannot really benefit from such kind of policies, on the contrary, they may be faced with a different type of deprivation of resources; (3) the underclass of the society and rural education could be subjected to further decay.

Author Bio

Dr Tao Li, originally from Mianyang, Sichuan Province, is an associate professor at the Northeast China Normal University/China Rural Education Development Research Institute and a PhD supervisor. Prior to his current post, he worked as a postdoctoral fellow at the Institute of Sociology of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. In 2019, he was selected as one of the awardees of the “National Youth Talent Support Programme” and served as the executive editor of the China Rural Education Review. He is mainly engaged in research on rural education, social stratification and inequalities, political sociology of knowledge and power, and social science research methods. He has published more than 100 articles in “Hommes & Migrations” (French), “Chinese Social Science” (internal manuscript), “Social Science”, “Exploration and Controversy”, “Humanities Magazine”, “China Administration”, “People’s Daily”, “Guangming Daily” and other publications.  More than 10 articles of his have been reprinted in the full text of “Xinhua Digest” and “Reproduction of People’s University”. He has presided over 5 national social science fund projects, and won 5 awards such as “First Prize of Excellent Achievements in Social Science of Jilin Province” and “First Prize of Outstanding Achievement Award of China Social Science Annual Conference”. He can be contacted by email at lit456@nenu.edu.cn.

Call for Collaboration: How BRIC countries develop their higher education in recruiting more overseas students

I am Dr. Sunny GUO Xin from the Chinese University of Hong Kong (Shenzhen). My research interest is how BRIC countries develop their higher education in recruiting more overseas students. I am looking for a researcher who has similar interests and would like to write a paper together on this similar topic. This collaborative partner preferably can help to connect with country or school officers that work on policies or strategies on recruiting more overseas students in Brazil, Russia and India. For more information, please email Dr GUO at sunnykwo936@gmail.com.

CfP: China and Higher Education: Knowledge diplomacy and the role of higher education in Chinese international relations

Date: 9-10 December 2019

Venue: University of Manchester

Abstract submission deadline: 31 July 2019 to ChinaHE@manchester.ac.uk

The Call for Papers below provides details about the conference theme and guidelines for abstract submissions. Abstracts are due on July 31 toChinaHE@manchester.ac.uk. The conference is free to attend and we can offer a limited number of travel bursaries for speakers who are students or early career researchers (up to £150).

Please register here to attend the conference.

We look forward to seeing some of you there!

Jenna Mittelmeier, Miguel Lim, Heather Cockayne, and Choen Yin Chan





Call for Submissions: The Cambridge Researcher

This following call may be relevant to Network members who are postgraduate researchers at Cambridge University, UK.

Write for The Cambridge Researcher!

The Cambridge Researcher is a new blog about postgraduate life in the humanities and social sciences. We are run by a team of Cambridge postgraduate students and aspire to a global interdisciplinary audience. We are currently looking for submissions from current postgraduate students. The blog editors are committed to publishing articles on a broad range of topics by a diverse group of writers over the coming months.

Our website is: www.cambridgeresearcher.com

Submission Guidelines: The editorial team invites blog length submissions of 500-1000 words from post-graduate students in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences. Posts may be about all aspects of post-graduate life: research, life in the city of Cambridge, current events and their impact on students and their research, and anything else that might appeal to the current graduate student community here in Cambridge or around the world. Submissions should be emailed to: thecambridgeresearcher@gmail.com.

Blog Launch:

Come to our official launch on June 10th to celebrate the blog going live. We’re keen to discuss blog proposals and ideas with as many students as possible over refreshments and cupcakes.

Venue: Seminar Room B, 17 Mill Lane

Time: 17.00-19.00

Date: June 10th, 2019


Job Vacancy: Full Professorship in China Studies at Aarhus University, Denmark

Professor of China Studies in a Global Perspective

The School of Culture and Society, Department of Global Studies, at Aarhus University invites applications for a permanent position as a full professor of China studies in a global perspective with a focus on modern or contemporary China. The position is available to start as soon as possible after 1 January 2020.

The University wishes our staff to reflect the diversity of society and thus welcomes applications from all qualified candidates regardless of personal background.

The professorship is being offered with a view to attracting talented applicants with an extensive and documented track record in innovative and internationally recognised research in the area of China studies, combined with specialist expertise in the humanities or social sciences as well as fluency in Chinese. The successful applicant will be expected to contribute to core activities at the School of Culture and Society and Aarhus University in general, and to strengthen the research activities and output of the Department of Global Studies in particular.

Apart from research, the successful applicant will also be expected to contribute to the following areas: education, talent development and knowledge exchange within modern or contemporary China studies at Aarhus University located within the field of global studies. The professor will be expected to undertake responsibility for and leadership of the academic evolution and profile of China studies at Aarhus University both nationally and internationally.

The successful applicant will also be expected to provide academic leadership in the development of research programmes in the field of China studies, to develop new research projects with internal and external partners, to raise external research funding, and to take part in the daily activities of the department. Moreover, it will be expected that s/he has a strong engagement with interdisciplinary research cooperation within the Department of Global Studies and its global studies research programme, in the School of Culture and Society, at the Faculty of Arts and beyond.

Research activities will be evaluated in relation to actual research time. Thus, we encourage applicants to specify periods of leave without research activities, in order to be able to subtract these periods from the span of the scientific career during the evaluation of scientific productivity.

The successful applicant will be required to teach and supervise in China studies at all levels of the department’s degree programmes (BA, MA and PhD), and will be expected to have extensive teaching experience at university level. Furthermore, s/he will be expected to take a leading role in the teaching and further development of multidisciplinary area studies programmes, especially in a recently launched global and area studies programme and in collaboration with representatives of other existing area study programmes.

Talent development and knowledge exchange
The successful applicant will be expected to be able to identify the development potential of junior researchers, to contribute to mentoring, talent development and supervision of PhD students, and to design and teach PhD courses. Moreover, it will be expected that the successful applicant will engage in knowledge exchange as mentioned in the strategy for the Faculty of Arts, for instance in research cooperation with private companies, government consultancy, cooperation with civil society actors or the public dissemination of knowledge.

Applicants must be able to document

  • An original and relevant academic production at the highest international level
  • Significant scholarly contributions to theoretical and thematic developments within the study of modern or contemporary China.
  • A solid track record in research leadership as well as in international research funding and international research cooperation including service to the profession
  • Fluency in Chinese
  • Experience in teaching, supervision competences as well as an active involvement in the education and study environment
  • Competences with regard to mentoring and a commitment to researcher talent development as well as the development and teaching of PhD courses

Applicants will be asked to present their vision for future developments in this field and in research on China in a global context.

Only submitted publications will be assessed; a list of publications is not sufficient. As a result, applications without submitted publications will not be assessed.

Professional references or recommendations should not be included in applications. Applicants who are selected for a job interview may be asked to state professional references.

Non-Danish-speaking applicants should be aware that the acquisition of sufficient Danish to participate in the daily administrative and academic business of the department within two years of taking up the position is a condition for their employment.

The application must be submitted in English.

For further information about the position and the department, please contact Head of School Bjarke Paarup, tel. +45 8716 2158 (head.cas@au.dk).

For more information about the application, please contact HR Supporter Marianne Birn, e-mail mbb@au.dk.

Global studies at Aarhus University
As an area studies programme, China studies at Aarhus University constitutes an integral part of the Department of Global Studies, which consists of language-based, regional study programmes, comprising China, Japan, India/South Asia, Russia, Brazil, and European and international studies. The department focuses on a broad spectrum of research into and the teaching of history, culture and society – all based on sources in the original/regional language. The approaches used have roots in the humanities as well as the social sciences, and aim to introduce creative teaching methods based firmly on research.

For a more detailed description of the programme and department, please refer to this websitehttp://cas.au.dk/en/about-the-school/departments/global-studies/

The Department of Global Studies belongs to the School of Culture and Society, where the object of research and teaching is the interplay between culture and society in time and space:

•    From the traditional disciplines of the humanities and theology to applied social research
•    From antiquity to the issues facing contemporary societies
•    From familiar Danish cultural forms to other – and very different – life worlds and world views
•    From local questions to global challenges.

Qualification requirements
Applicants should hold a PhD or equivalent academic qualifications.Formalities

If nothing else is noted, applications must be submitted in English. Application deadline is at 11.59 pm Danish time (same as Central European Time) on the deadline day.

All interested candidates are encouraged to apply, regardless of their personal background.
Shortlists may be prepared with the candidates that have been selected for a detailed academic assessment. A committee set up by the head of school is responsible for selecting the most qualified candidates. See this link for further information about shortlisting at the Faculty of Arts: http://medarbejdere.au.dk/fileadmin/user_upload/Proces_for_shortlisting_december_2017.pdf

Aarhus University offers a broad variety of services for international researchers and accompanying families, including relocation service and career counselling to expat partners: http://ias.au.dk/au-relocation-service/. Please find more information about entering and working in Denmark here: http://international.au.dk/research/

Faculty of Arts
The Faculty of Arts is one of four main academic areas at Aarhus University.
The faculty contributes to Aarhus University’s research, talent development, knowledge exchange and degree programmes.
With its 500 academic staff members, 260 PhD students, 10,500 BA and MA students, and 1,500 students following continuing/further education programmes, the faculty constitutes a strong and diverse research and teaching environment.
The Faculty of Arts consists of the School of Communication and Culture, the School of Culture and Society, the Danish School of Education, and the Centre for Teaching Development and Digital Media. Each of these units has strong academic environments and forms the basis for interdisciplinary research and education.
The faculty’s academic environments and degree programmes engage in international collaboration and share the common goal of contributing to the development of knowledge, welfare and culture in interaction with society.

Read more at arts.au.dk/en