Discourse on Nationalism in China’s Traditional Cultural Education: Teachers’ Perspectives

Xi Wang, Ting WANG

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Education of Chinese cultural traditions has been endorsed by the central
government in Mainland China in recent years. The article presents a study
which examined how nationalism advocated in the policy text has been
interpreted at the localized level by primary school teachers in Beijing. The
study draws on discourse theories as the primary point of reference. The
qualitative coding methods and textual analysis were employed to interpret
the meanings of 52 interview transcripts of public primary school teachers.
The findings reveal a discrepancy between the discourse on nationalism
presented by the policy and the discourse used by the respondents. The
former exhibited a strong nationalist aspiration. The latter made a discourse
of cultural nationalism more explicit, which cherishes the intellectual and
esthetic aspects of Chinese cultural heritage, and considers them important
in cultivating students’ cultural taste and moral characters. Teachers’ lack
of knowledge of the original policy text might be one reason for this
discrepancy. Public media also played a significant role in constructing the
complexities in their understandings. Its entertaining nature may diminish
the importance of sovereignty nationalism in their eyes. The complexity of
nationalism in contemporary China seems to go beyond the explanatory
power of western theories.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1089-1100
Number of pages12
JournalEducational Philosophy and Theory
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 15 Oct 2018


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