Governing Educational Desire: Culture, Politics, and Schooling in China
by Andrew B. Kipnis
University of Chicago Press, 2011
Cloth: 978-0-226-43753-8 | eISBN: 978-0-226-43756-9 | Paper: 978-0-226-43755-2
Library of Congress Classification LA1134.Z68K575 2011
Dewey Decimal Classification 306.430951
Reference metadata exposed for Zotero via unAPI.
Parents in China greatly value higher education for their children, but the intensity and effects of their desire to achieve this goal have largely gone unexamined—until now. Governing Educational Desire explores the cultural, political, and economic origins of Chinese desire for a college education as well as its vast consequences, which include household and national economic priorities, birthrates, ethnic relations, and patterns of governance.
Where does this desire come from? Andrew B. Kipnis approaches this question in four different ways. First, he investigates the role of local context by focusing on family and community dynamics in one Chinese county, Zouping. Then, he widens his scope to examine the provincial and national governmental policies that affect educational desire. Next, he explores how contemporary governing practices were shaped by the Confucian examination system, uncovering the historical forces at work in the present. Finally, he looks for the universal in the local, considering the ways aspects of educational desire in Zouping spread throughout China and beyond. In doing so, Kipnis provides not only an illuminating analysis of education in China but also a thought-provoking reflection on what educational desire can tell us about the relationship between culture and government.
“Kipnis convincingly demonstrates how crucial education is for shaping the strategies, dreams, and desires of Chinese families. But the main contribution of this book is the way it manages to place this educational desire in a larger context of how China is governed and in a comparative framework that shows Chinese students’ feverish desire for education as part of a global phenomenon that cannot be reduced to Chinese, or even East Asian, cultural peculiarity.”— Stig Thøgersen, Aarhus University