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Title: Negotiating educational desire : migrant youths and aspirations in Shanghai, China
Author: Kaland, Ole Johannes
ISNI:       0000 0004 5363 4576
Awarding Body: University of Sussex
Current Institution: University of Sussex
Date of Award: 2014
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More than an exploration of how education is governed for the children of internal migrant workers in Shanghai, this thesis focuses ethnographically on the ways that migrant youths experience, reflect on, and relate to their marginal subject positions and limited educational rights. It does so by showing how they negotiate between limited access to education in Shanghai, with familial, societal and state pressures and desires for them to educate themselves, and their dreams and desires for the future. The study is mainly based on anthropological research among a group of youths who frequent a charitable Chinese NGO in Shanghai. The NGO caters to the needs of migrant children by offering them extracurricular education and arts classes. It follows them in their daily lives as they grapple with decisions regarding which educational and vocational pathways to choose. That is, whether they should migrate to the rural places of their household registrations (hukou) in order to attend high school, pursue a technical education at vocational school in Shanghai, or whether to attempt to circumvent the system through alternate means, including migrating abroad for education. The study is located at the nexus of scholarship pertaining to governance, migration, education and youth, and furthers anthropological knowledge and theory on these themes within a Chinese context. First, by taking the vantage point of migrant youths, it argues that the governance of migrant education happens as much through the ways the government works through individuals, as the ways in which individuals work through, around and against the state. Second, it demonstrates how the youths' relationship to education is framed by migration. While their access to education is limited due to their subject positions as migrants, their educational and vocational choices depend on their willingness to migrate again. Third, the study problematizes recent scholarship on educational desire in China, and argues that more than a desire to learn, educational desire must be analyzed in relation to the subject positions and backgrounds of different groups of youths. Fourth, it argues that processes of individualization and an increased valuation of individualism affect the educational choices of migrant youths in Shanghai. Together with differences in educational levels, this furthermore changes the parent-child relationship and offers the latter more agency in making educational decisions than before. In sum, this thesis therefore offers an original contribution towards the understanding of a significant part of contemporary Chinese society.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: DS701 China ; HB0848 Demography. Population. Vital events ; LC1390 Education of special classes of persons