Recent Publications

Naftali, Orna. 2020. “Youth Military Training in China: Learning to ‘Love the Army’.” Journal of Youth Studies 24 (9). Publisher's VersionAbstract

Schools worldwide have long engaged in various forms of ‘war education’. In China, an extensive ‘Patriotic Education’ campaign and an expanded ‘National Defense Education’ curriculum have led to an increase in youth-oriented military programs in the 2000s. Previous work on the implementation of these programs in Chinese schools has mostly focused on urban elite youth, while overlooking the reception of these programs by non-urban, non-elite populations. The present study addresses this issue by examining youth perceptions and experiences of military training courses in urban and rural high schools. Drawing on the analysis of Chinese publications in the 2000s and on data from field interviews with students of different backgrounds, the study finds that youth military training constitutes a contentious program. Although the Chinese government promotes the program as crucial for military strengthening and the fostering of a patriotic spirit, PRC academic and media writers provide alternative rationales for the program, which at times undermine the logic of government articulations. Meanwhile, interviews with youth document divergent attitudes and even resentment towards the program, especially among city youth. This finding casts doubt on the assumption that military-training courses necessarily contribute to the increased ‘militarization’ of Chinese youth and education.

Schools worldwide have long engaged in various forms of ‘war education.’ In China, an extensive ‘Patriotic Education’ campaign and an expanded ‘National Defense Education’ curriculum have led to an increase in youth-oriented military programs in the 2000s. Previous work on the implementation of these programs in Chinese schools has mostly focused on urban elite youth, while overlooking the reception of these programs by non-urban, non-elite populations. The present study addresses this issue by examining youth perceptions and experiences of military training courses in urban and rural high schools. Drawing on the analysis of Chinese publications in the 2000s and on data from field interviews with students of different backgrounds, the study finds that youth military training constitutes a contentious program. Although the Chinese government promotes the program as crucial for military strengthening and the fostering of a patriotic spirit, PRC academic and media writers provide alternative rationales for the program, which at times undermine the logic of government articulations. Meanwhile, interviews with youth document divergent attitudes and even resentment towards the program, especially among city youth. This finding casts doubt on the assumption that military-training courses necessarily contribute to the increased ‘militarization’ of Chinese youth and education.

 

Naftali, Orna. 2020. “'Being Chinese means becoming cheap labour': Education, national belonging, and social positionality among youth in contemporary China.” The China Quarterly, Published Onlinefirst, 1-21. Publisher's VersionAbstract

 

Since the 1990s, the Chinese party-state has attempted to teach its youth how to think and speak about the nation through a “patriotic education” campaign waged in schools, the media and on public sites. The reception of these messages by youth of different social backgrounds remains a disputed issue, however. Drawing on a multi-sited field study conducted among rural and urban Han Chinese youth attending different types of schools, this article explores the effects of the patriotic education campaign on youth conceptions of the nation by examining the rhetoric high-school students employ when asked to reflect upon their nation. The study reveals that a majority of youth statements conform to the language and contents of the patriotic education campaign; however, there are significant differences in the discursive stances of urban youth and rural youth and of those attending academic and non-academic, vocational schools. These findings call into question the party-state's current vision of China as a “unified” national collectivity. They highlight the existence of variances in the sense of collective belonging and national identity of Chinese youth, while underscoring the importance of social positioning and perceived life chances in producing these variances.

自上世纪90年代以来,中国共产党一直试图通过在学校、媒体和公共场所开展的“爱国主义教育”活动,教育青少年如何思考和谈论国家。然而,不同社会背景的青年对这些信息的接受仍然是一个有争议的问题。本文对来自不同地域和在不同类型学校就读的城乡汉族青年进行了实地调研,通过考察中学生对国家概念的反思,探讨了 “爱国主义教育” 运动对青年观念的影响。研究表明,大多数青年言论符合 “爱国主义教育” 运动的语言和内容。然而,城市和农村青年以及学术和非学术职业学校学生的态度存在显著差异。这些发现凸显了当代中国青年集体归属感和国家认同感的差异,同时强调了社会地位和所感知的生活机会在产生这些差异方面的重要性。他们进一步质疑党国目前对中国作为 “统一” 的国家集体的看法。

 

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