From ‘Educational Desire’ to ‘Educational Anxiety’: The Case of Rural Families in China’s Remote Areas (72959)

Session Information: Socio-Economic Challenges in Education
Session Chair: Fengshu Liu

Thursday, 23 November 2023 13:40
Session: Session 3
Room: Room 603
Presentation Type: Oral Presentation

All presentation times are UTC + 9 (Asia/Tokyo)

The socio-economic changes in recent decades, coupled with a deep-rooted cultural belief in education, have resulted in unprecedented ‘educational desire’ and ‘educational anxiety’ in China. Although previous research recognizes strong educational desire in both urban and rural societies, little research has investigated how it may be playing out in rural families. Furthermore, the discussion about ‘educational anxiety’ has solely concerned urban parents, reflecting an assumption that the notion can hardly apply to rural parents, especially those in poor/remote areas. These trends fail to do justice to present-day rural families’ complex engagement with their children’s education. This study explores how both ‘educational desire’ and ‘educational anxiety’ may be at work, and in tandem, to shape rural families’ lived experiences regarding their children’s education, drawing on interviews with parents/care-takers in 39 families and observation in 5 households in a remote area. The participants typically think higher education is of paramount importance for their children’s future welfare, or ‘the only way out’, hoping that their children will score into a university as prestigious as possible. Most of them were constantly anxious about their children’s school performance and future prospects, and frustrated by their own inability to help the child academically. Thus, rural families typically have strong educational desire and intense educational anxiety—no less than urban middle-class families do. However, the rural educational ‘desire’ and ‘anxiety’ have rural-specific manifestations due to the specific Chinese rural circumstances shaped by the rampant urbanization and persistent rural-urban disparities—a form of structural violence per excellence.

Fengshu Liu, University of Oslo, Norway

About the Presenter(s)
Professor Fengshu Liu is a University Professor/Principal Lecturer at University of Oslo in Norway

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Posted by Clive Staples Lewis

Last updated: 2023-02-23 23:45:00