Intrigued by the heterogeneous development of rural and urban China, persistent poverty in rural ethnic minority regions, and dilemmatic quality compulsory education provided for ethnic regions as a key to poverty alleviation, this dissertation sets out to examine the rural appropriation and implementation of compulsory education and its impacts on the lives of students from one particular ethnic group, Muslim Hui in Xihaigu, Southern part of Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region in Northwestern China, as they respond to changing rural dynamics, fighting against poverty, and trying to maintain ethnoreligious identity.Informed by critical theory and constructivism paradigms as well as studies of ethnicity and ethnic identity, cultural reproduction theory, and cultural production theory, this study use critical ethnography as a method of research to particularly examine how secular schooling is practiced in this rural and Muslim Hui concentrated region and is lived everyday through routinized pedagogical practices and administrative maneuvers. Most importantly, through the voices of local Muslim Hui, it explores parents' changing views of secular schooling and how the changed views affect Muslim Hui students' exercise their power to participate in school activities, whether they resist against and struggle with secular schooling or straddle across secularity and ethnoreligiosity. In the end, this study attempts to make a theoretical contribution by challenging the binary relationship between the dominating and the dominated that guided majority of studies of ethnic groups in China. Muslim Hui students in my study exhibit diverse reactions and responses to the dominant Han culture and constantly negotiate a life of their own.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. August 2014. Major: Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development. Advisors: Dr. Joan DeJaeghere, Advisor
and Dr. Frances Vavrus. 1 computer file (PDF); viii, 314 pages, appendices I-VII.
Ethnicity, poverty, and secular schooling: Muslim Hui students' identity negotiations in rural China.
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