NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
ERIC Number: ED512778
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1998
Pages: 358
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: ISBN-978-0-5918-1558-0
Ethnicity, Education and Empowerment: Identity Construction among Minority Students in Southwestern China
Lee, MaryJo Benton
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, South Dakota State University
Eight percent of the population of the People's Republic of China is comprised of ethnic minority people, people with cultures (particularly languages and religions) that are distinct from the majority (or Han) Chinese. Ethnic students in China and elsewhere face considerable obstacles to getting a good education. A tiny percentage of Chinese ethnic minority students do manage to beat the odds and win college admittance. These students find ways to function effectively in a second culture using a language other than their native one. How do these students do that? What role does ethnicity play in the educational achievement of these students and in the empowerment of their minority groups? This research project addresses those issues. More specifically, this research project examines the education of minority students attending Yunnan Normal (Teachers) University in the city of Kunming in southwestern China. The theoretical orientation of this work is symbolic interactionism. Qualitative techniques used to gather and analyze data were intensive interviews, field observation, key informant interviews and content analysis. The major findings of the present study generally align with earlier work done in this area. The major findings are: (1) some ethnic minority students are able to construct personal identities which allow them to do well in school; (2) these socially constructed selves rely heavily on the backing of reference groups at the family, village, primary/secondary school and university levels; (3) self-conceptions at the individual level are influenced by social structures at the societal level. The structural context of interaction sometimes constrains and sometimes supports the construction of achievement-oriented selves by ethnic students; (4) reference groups strongly influence how ethnic students view themselves, and self-concept plays an important part in academic achievement; and (5) the process of empowerment among ethnic students is rooted in their commitment to help their families and their villages. The logical way to do this is by acquiring education for themselves. Through this education, the students also acquire prestige and power to make changes that benefit their ethnic groups. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: China