Muslim Uyghur Students in a Chinese Boarding School

Muslim Uyghur Students in a Chinese Boarding School : Social Recapitalization as a Response to Ethnic Integration

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One of the most controversial policies in Chinese minority education concerns the so-called inland ethnic minority schools or classes in Han inhabited areas in China. Since 2000, boarding Xinjiang Classes have been established in the eastern cities of China for high school students from the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, in order to educate young Uyghur and other ethnic minority students through the national curricula. Although the Xinjiang Classes are supposed to promote ethnic integration between the Muslim Uyghur minority and the Han majority, there often remains a gap between the stated policy goal and its actual implementation. Guided by the theoretical framework of social capital analysis, this book therefore examines how Uyghur students in the Xinjiang Classes respond to the school goal of ethnic integration. Chen conceptualizes the process of Uyghur students' responses to the school goal of ethnic integration as social recapitalization. While their former social capital from families or communities in Xinjiang is constrained in the boarding school, Uyghur youths are able to develop independent and new social capital to facilitate their schooling. Nonetheless, they lack "bridging social capital," which makes the goal of ethnic integration more difficult to achieve.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 230 pages
  • 156 x 232 x 24mm | 458.13g
  • Lexington Books
  • Lanham, MD, United States
  • English
  • 1 map
  • 073912112X
  • 9780739121122

Review quote

This is a nuanced study of Muslim Uyghur students in Chinese boarding schools in China. It offers a full and fair overview of the development of Xinjiang Classes as a state policy of ethnic integration while documenting the role of agency on the part of Uyghur students in their active resistance to cultural subjugation and their proactive effort to build social networks in school. The study illuminates the process of social recapitalization benefiting minority schooling, pushes the reader to re-think the paradox of assimilation and ethnicization, and calls for a public policy of multicultural education. -- Min Zhou, Tan Lark Sye Chair Professor of Sociology at Nanyang Technological University and co-author of The Asian American Achievement Paradox Chen Yangbin's study of Uyghur students' experience in a boarding school in China proper is the first theoretically informed and empirically grounded sociological study of the Uyghur experience as a minority in the PRC. Chen's conclusions?that the experience leads Uyghurs to bond closely with their Uyghur classmates while increasing segregation from Han students?may surprise both those who hope the policy will 'integrate' Uyghurs more closely with the Han majority, and those who decry the boarding schoolsas a state attempt at deracination. This book will interest not only scholars of China's minority peoples, but those engaged in comparative study of educational policy in multi-ethnic environments... -- James A. Millward, Georgetown University The Xinjiang riots of July 2009 render particularly timely the publication of a book that examines the Chinese government's efforts to use schooling to tackle enduring divisions between Uyghurs and the country's Han majority... this study is an invaluable contribution to our understanding of the role of schooling in promoting, or undermining, the integration of these 'minorities' with Chinese society... This is almost certainly the most balanced and thoughtful study available in English of the impact of Chinese education policies on Xinjiang students, and of their responses to these policies. China Quarterly, December 2009 The Uyghurs are a Turkic, Muslim minority in North-western China's Xinjiang, and official policy towards them is highly controversial. However, Yangbin Chen adopts a scholarly tone, critical but always fair. The book shows a wonderful grasp of the theory of educational sociology, especially as applied to the relations between minorities and majorities. The way the social capital theory is applied to the concrete situation of Uyghur students in the school selected and in Xinjiang is truly admirable. Insightful quotations from in-depth interviews with students and teachers add interest and conviction. The author has brilliantly elucidated a major problem: how far education has integrated the Uyghurs into the Chinese state... -- Colin Mackerras, Griffith University The Uyghurs are a Turkic, Muslim minority in North-western China's Xinjiang, and official policy towards them is highly controversial. However, Yangbin Chen adopts a scholarly tone, critical but always fair. The book shows a wonderful grasp of the theory of educational sociology, especially as applied to the relations between minorities and majorities. The way the social capital theory is applied to the concrete situation of Uyghur students in the school selected and in Xinjiang is truly admirable. Insightful quotations from in-depth interviews with students and teachers add interest and conviction. The author has brilliantly elucidated a major problem: how far education has integrated the Uyghurs into the Chinese state. -- Colin Mackerras, Griffith University Chen Yangbin's study of Uyghur students' experience in a boarding school in China proper is the first theoretically informed and empirically grounded sociological study of the Uyghur experience as a minority in the PRC. Chen's conclusions-that the experience leads Uyghurs to bond closely with their Uyghur classmates while increasing segregation from Han students-may surprise both those who hope the policy will 'integrate' Uyghurs more closely with the Han majority, and those who decry the boarding schools as a state attempt at deracination. This book will interest not only scholars of China's minority peoples, but those engaged in comparative study of educational policy in multi-ethnic environments. -- James A. Millward, Georgetown University The strength of the study lies in the unique empirical data that Chen has collected within a setting where anthropological fieldwork is rarely accepted, and reliable data difficult to obtain...Chen's book about Uyghur students is rare, fieldwork-based and a significant contribution to the study of the Uyghurs and their relations to the Han, and of education and ethnic relations in China in general. The China Journalshow more

About Yangbin Chen

Yangbin Chen teaches at the University of New South Wales.show more

Table of contents

Chapter 1. Boarding Schools and National Unity Chapter 2. Social Capital, Ethnic Integration, and Student Response Chapter 3. Uyghur Education in China Chapter 4. Ethnic Integration: Goal vs. Practice Chapter 5. Uyghur Students in the Xinjiang Classes Chapter 6. Social Networks Chapter 7. Norms of Uyghur Students Chapter 8. Special Events Chapter 9. The Negative Side of Social Capital Chapter 10. Process of Social Recapitalizationshow more