1st Edition

The Educational Hopes and Ambitions of Left-Behind Children in Rural China An Ethnographic Case Study

By Yang Hong Copyright 2022
    178 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

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    This monograph highlights the educational experiences of rural children who are 'left behind' by their migrant worker parents in China, analyzing how this situation impacts on their aspirations and self-identity.

    Via an ethnographic and qualitative case study of a rural school in southwest China, the author presents the real lives of these disadvantaged children along with their challenges and needs, and provides an in depth understanding of how being ‘left behind’ impacts on their future aspirations. Building on the sociological theories of Pierre Bourdieu, the author makes an original contribution by combining seemingly incompatible disciplinary perspectives, such as cultural capital from sociology, rational action from behavioral economics, and self-efficacy from psychology. Hence, the book endeavors to transfer these Western theories to an Eastern context and demonstrates cultural nuances that are not always captured when applied in the West.

    The book will attract academic scholars and postgraduate students in the area of socially disadvantaged children and young people as well as those who are working on youth studies and rural education.

    1 Introduction  2 The Left-behind Children Phenomenon in China  3 Family and Education  4 Riverside – the Research Context  5 University Non-aspirers and ‘The Undecided’  6 University Aspirers  7 Discussion: Exploring Differences in Aspirations Within the Context of Being ‘Left Behind’  8 Conclusion


    Yang Hong is a lecturer at Faculty of Education, Shaanxi Normal University. She received her PhD in Sociology of Education, the Institute of Education, Reading University, UK. She specializes in social justice, focusing on issues of poverty, education, gender and identity.