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Toward Critical Patriotism

Toward Critical Patriotism: Student Resistance to Political Education in Hong Kong and China

Gregory P. Fairbrother
Copyright Date: 2003
Pages: 232
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  • Book Info
    Toward Critical Patriotism
    Book Description:

    This book considers, in the context of political education in China and colonial Hong Kong, the effects of critical thinking on university students' attitudes toward the nation. Its objective is to understand how students' attitudes toward patriotism diverge from those held by the majority. The author uses a combination of documentary sources, interviews, ethnographic fieldwork and observation at secondary schools to address the central question of the effects of a depoliticized civic education curriculum versus a system which promotes patriotism through education. He then is able to examine the relative successes of each system in legitimizing their respective governments.

    eISBN: 978-988-220-292-4
    Subjects: Education

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Series Foreword
    (pp. ix-x)

    Most past research on Hong Kong has been generally aimed to inform a diverse audience about the place and its people. Beginning in the 1950s, the aim of scholars and journalists who came to Hong Kong was to study China, which had not yet opened its doors to fieldwork by outsiders. Accordingly, the relevance of Hong Kong was limited to its status as a society adjacent to mainland China. After the opening of China, research on Hong Kong shifted focus towards colonial legitimacy and the return of sovereignty. Thus, the disciplined study of Hong Kong was hindered for almost half...

  4. Acknowledgements
    (pp. xi-xii)
  5. 1 Introduction
    (pp. 1-18)

    “If we accept that it is we who have to decide our future . . . we will have to strive for more active participation in politics, we will have to campaign for the allegiance of our youth, . . . we need to reform our education system.” Thus wrote the author of “Has Hong Kong a Future?” in the student publication Undergrad in the midst of the 1967 anti-colonial riots in Hong Kong (quoted in Leung 2000, 212). This article, along with others like it appearing in student publications, represented burgeoning discussion and debate among students about their role...

  6. 2 Hegemony and Resistance in Education
    (pp. 19-34)

    The previous chapter noted the interest of both the mainland Chinese and Hong Kong governments in preserving social order and their authority to rule, and the further interest of both governments in motivating populations to concern themselves with economic activity and development. These two goals are also reflected in the general literature addressing states’ desires for individuals to form identifications at the level of the nation-state. On one hand is a regime’s desire to preserve its own power and legitimacy, as well as political control and social order. Although coercion and the exercise of power could serve to integrate the...

  7. 3 Civic Education in Hong Kong
    (pp. 35-52)

    Pre-handover Hong Kong education policy with regard to the school curriculum has been described as autocratic and top-down, and determines the range and content of school subjects, the provision of curriculum guidelines, and textbook selection (Cheng 1992; Leung 1995; Morris 1997). Curriculum policy, like other aspects of education, is governed by the Education Regulations, and new policies may only be initiated by the Executive Council, in consultation with the Education Commission and the Board of Education. Power is centralized in the Education Department of the Hong Kong government, which is headed by the Director of Education, whose actions are in...

  8. 4 Patriotic Education in Mainland China
    (pp. 53-74)

    The previous chapter described civic education in Hong Kong, focusing on its depoliticization and relative lack of content about the nation. Civic education was de-emphasized from the highest level, the Education Regulations, which until 1990 prohibited the discussion of politics in school, to the level of teachers, many of whom neglected to effectively implement government-issued civic education guidelines. As a contrast to the Hong Kong case, this chapter presents the situation in mainland China, where political education has had strong state support and has been carried out in schools though the curriculum and extracurricular activities. Through an analysis of post-1949...

  9. 5 Hong Kong and Mainland Chinese Students’ National Attitudes
    (pp. 75-92)

    As we have seen, while civic education in colonial Hong Kong was considerably depoliticized and weak from the policy-to the school-level, detailed policies on patriotic education, which are reflected in the curriculum and textbooks, exist in mainland China. With these contexts, this chapter examines the actual attitudes toward the nation of the products of the two education systems, Hong Kong and Mainland university students, describing their attitudes and detailing where similarities and differences between the two groups lie. As the respective states would desire, Hong Kong students were largely neutral in their sentiment toward China, while Mainland students were considerably...

  10. 6 Hong Kong and Mainland Chinese Students’ Perceptions of Political Socialization
    (pp. 93-106)

    As might be expected from the nature of patriotic education in mainland China and the depoliticization of Hong Kong civic education, Mainland students on average held more positive attitudes toward the nation than their Hong Kong counterparts. This chapter examines this relationship between education and attitudes from the students’ point of view by describing their perceptions of the influence of the agents of socialization — secondary schooling, the university experience, the family, the media, and friends — on the formation of their attitudes toward the nation. Hong Kong and Mainland students’ impressions of each of these factors are examined in depth using...

  11. 7 Critical Thinking among Hong Kong and Mainland Chinese Students
    (pp. 107-134)

    In addition to describing their perceptions of the influence of secondary schooling, the university, the media, the family and friends on their attitudes toward the nation, Hong Kong and Mainland students also offered evaluations of these influences. Out of these evaluations emerged the theme of critical thinking. The manifestations of critical thinking that students exhibited corresponded closely to general definitions of critical thinking in the relevant literature, definitions which incorporate reasoned reflections about one’s beliefs and actions, discovery, skepticism, and the consideration of alternative viewpoints in forming one’s attitudes. Ennis (1996) defines critical thinking as “Reasonable reflective thinking focused on...

  12. 8 The Influence of Socialization and Critical Thinking on Students’ Attitudes Toward the Nation
    (pp. 135-160)

    Chapter Five described how Hong Kong and Mainland university students perceived the nation, finding that along seven dimensions Mainland students had more positive attitudes toward the nation than Hong Kong students and that the difference was greater with regard to patriotism than nationalism. Chapter Six in turn described the social factors which Hong Kong and Mainland students felt had influenced their attitudes toward China. It found that although students perceived that schooling, the university experience, the media, family, and friends each had some influence, Mainland students gave primary credit to their schooling, while a large number of Hong Kong students...

  13. 9 Student Resistance to the Hegemonic Efforts of the State to Influence Their Attitudes toward the Nation
    (pp. 161-182)

    This chapter integrates the theoretical perspectives from Chapter Two with the Hong Kong and Mainland Chinese educational contexts and the data from student interviews and surveys on perceptions of political socialization, critical thinking dispositions, and national attitudes, in order to construct a model of student resistance to the hegemonic political socialization efforts of the state and schools. The chapter first briefly addresses the nature of the state and the process and content of hegemony, then asks how successful the state’s hegemonic political socialization efforts have been in fostering the desired attitudes toward the nation within the groups of Hong Kong...

  14. 10 Conclusion
    (pp. 183-188)

    The objective of the study presented in this book was to offer an explanation for the patriotic and nationalistic attitudes of some Hong Kong students, among a group of students who were for the most part ambivalent toward the nation, and the neutral attitudes toward the nation of some mainland Chinese students, within a group of students who were on average considerably patriotic and nationalistic. It found that these students’ attitudes were largely attributable to their dispositions to think critically, as well as to aspects of the schooling and university experiences. As context, it took into consideration the nature of...

    (pp. 189-193)
    (pp. 193-194)
    (pp. 194-197)
    (pp. 197-198)
    (pp. 199-202)
  20. Bibliography
    (pp. 203-214)
  21. Index
    (pp. 215-218)