Citizenship Education and Migrant Youth in China: Pathways to the Urban Underclass, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Citizenship Education and Migrant Youth in China

Pathways to the Urban Underclass, 1st Edition

By Miao Li


256 pages

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In East Asian economies such as China, recent mass rural-urban migration has created a new urban underclass, as have their children. However, their inclusion in urban public schools is a surprisingly slow process, and youth identities in newly industrialized countries remain largely neglected. Faced with monetary and institutional barriers, the majority of migrant youth attend low-quality or underperforming migrant schools, without access to the free compulsory education enjoyed by their urban counterparts. As a result, China’s citizen-building scheme and the sustainability of its labor-intensive economy have greatly impacted global economic restructuring.

Using thorough ethnographic research, this volume examines the consequences of urban schooling and citizenship education through which school and social processes contribute to the production of unequal class relations. It explores the nexus of citizenship education and identity-forming practices of poor migrant youth in an attempt to foresee the new class formation in Chinese society. This volume opens up the "black box" of citizenship education in China and examines the effect of school and societal forces on social mobility and life trajectories.


‘This meticulously researched ethnography gives vivid insights into the schooling experiences of migrant children in China’s burgeoning cities. They are destined to low status occupations and ongoing disadvantage in spite of the rhetoric of individual effort and meritocratic opportunity. Miao Li has effectively adapted social reproduction theories to highlight this harsh underside of China’s meteoric rise.’ - Ruth Hayhoe, Professor, University of Toronto

Table of Contents

Foreword Lois Weis Introduction 1. Rural-Urban Migration and the Schooling of Migrant Youth 2. Citizenship Education and Youth Identity 3. Chaotic Schooling: Migrant Youth’s Experiences in Green Tree School 4: The "Sunshine Education" of Red River Middle School 5: Shaken Faith in Formal Schooling 6: The Ideology of Individual Efforts: Meritocracy and Education 7: Experiencing the Urban-Rural Dichotomy Conclusion: Citizenship Rights, Identity, and Collective Action

About the Author

Miao Li is assistant professor at the School of Philosophy and Social Development, Shandong University, China.

About the Series

Routledge Research in International and Comparative Education

This is a series that offers a global platform to engage scholars in continuous academic debate on key challenges and the latest thinking on issues in the fast growing field of International and Comparative Education.

Please send inquiries or proposals for this series to one of the following:

Will Bateman: [email protected] – Editor, UK and Rest of World

Elsbeth Wright: [email protected] – Editor, North & South America

Vilija Stephens: [email protected] – Editor, Australia & New Zealand

Katie Peace: [email protected] – Publisher, Asia

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
EDUCATION / Multicultural Education
EDUCATION / Philosophy & Social Aspects
EDUCATION / Comparative
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / Urban