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Title: The 3, 4, 5 literature : ideopolitical-moral education in Mainland China as a barometer of political and economic change
Author: Ho, Chi-hang
ISNI:       0000 0001 3579 2720
Awarding Body: Durham University
Current Institution: Durham University
Date of Award: 2007
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Moral education is inseparable from ideology and politics in China. This study investigates the rise and fall of the "3,4,5 literature" and its related movement. The "3,4,5 literature" (the New Three Character Classic, Four Character Song of Social Ethics and Five Character Rhyme of Family Ethics) were bestselling moral education texts generated in Guangdong, a southern SEZ, since the adoption of a policy of opening up the economy in 1978. This study employed the method of content analysis to identify distinctive values embedded in the 3,4,5 literature and other related moral texts. Major stakeholders involved in the development of the 3,4,5 literature were interviewed in order to understand the dynamic process of the 3,4,5 movement. In addition, documentary analysis was employed to show how the government's policy on ideopolitical-moral education led to the rise and the fall of the 3,4,5 literature and to assess the implications of the 3,4,5 literature for the government in formulating its subsequent policies in ideopolitical-moral education. The findings of this study indicated the pioneering role of the 3,4,5 literature in the reform of ideopolitical-moral education in China. Ideopolitical-moral education in China is currently characterized by concerns for students' psychological health, moral qualities, democracy and legal education rather than political themes. This study also shows that a de-politicization in ideopolitical-moral education resulted from decentralization, with greater autonomy granted to the regions. In turn, this made it possible to professionalize ideopolitical-moral education. The professionalisation made it possible to free ideopolitical-moral education from party dogma, in other words to secularise it. All this was made possible by the rapid social transition initiated by market-oriented reforms. Nevertheless, in spite of decentralization and regionalization, the national government remained highly influential. This study also reveals the sustaining power of traditional ethics in current ideopolitical-moral education and its power in maintaining official legitimacy and moral authority as China increasingly integrates with the global world economy. Finally, the study depicts the changes in methods of political socialization. These were initiated by economic liberalization rather than changes in political system. It is hoped that the findings will enhance the understanding of recent development of ideopolitical-moral education in China and add to existing knowledge of such research fields as culture, political socialization and soft-power.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available