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The Opportunity of China? Education as a political tool in the People’s Republic

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Abstract:

In 1915, the American sociologist Thorstein Veblen wrote an essay entitled ‘The Opportunity of Japan’, analysing the regime’s strategy of pursuing rapid economic modernisation while attempting to maintain a ‘medieval’ social and political status quo. Veblen’s argument was that the regime’s ultimate aim was the military-imperial ‘aggrandisement of the state’ rather than improvement in the lot of the Japanese people. For this strategy to be sustained, however, securing a sentimental identification with the state on the part of the people was essential, and here the role of education was crucial.
In this essay, Veblen’s thesis propounded almost a century ago in relation to Japan is re-examined in the light of contemporary developments in the People’s Republic of China, including Hong Kong. While eschewing facile parallels, it is argued that in Communist China, as in Imperial Japan, the regime has come to rely upon the inculcation of nationalism through schooling (along with other official media) as its principal legitimating tool. As in the case of Japan, moreover, there is a danger that the logic of the pursuit of economic development with political stasis may drive China towards international conflict even if many Chinese leaders wish to avoid it.
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Association:
Name: 53rd Annual Conference of the Comparative and International Education Society
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http://www.cies.us


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URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p297279_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Vickers, Edward. "The Opportunity of China? Education as a political tool in the People’s Republic" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the 53rd Annual Conference of the Comparative and International Education Society, Francis Marion Hotel, Charleston, South Carolina, <Not Available>. 2014-11-30 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p297279_index.html>

APA Citation:

Vickers, E. "The Opportunity of China? Education as a political tool in the People’s Republic" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the 53rd Annual Conference of the Comparative and International Education Society, Francis Marion Hotel, Charleston, South Carolina <Not Available>. 2014-11-30 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p297279_index.html

Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Abstract: In 1915, the American sociologist Thorstein Veblen wrote an essay entitled ‘The Opportunity of Japan’, analysing the regime’s strategy of pursuing rapid economic modernisation while attempting to maintain a ‘medieval’ social and political status quo. Veblen’s argument was that the regime’s ultimate aim was the military-imperial ‘aggrandisement of the state’ rather than improvement in the lot of the Japanese people. For this strategy to be sustained, however, securing a sentimental identification with the state on the part of the people was essential, and here the role of education was crucial.
In this essay, Veblen’s thesis propounded almost a century ago in relation to Japan is re-examined in the light of contemporary developments in the People’s Republic of China, including Hong Kong. While eschewing facile parallels, it is argued that in Communist China, as in Imperial Japan, the regime has come to rely upon the inculcation of nationalism through schooling (along with other official media) as its principal legitimating tool. As in the case of Japan, moreover, there is a danger that the logic of the pursuit of economic development with political stasis may drive China towards international conflict even if many Chinese leaders wish to avoid it.


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