NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ862055
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 20
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0030-9230
The Reception of Foreign Educational Thought by Modern China (1909-1948): An Analysis in Terms of Luhmannian Selection and Self-Reference
Wu, Meiyao
Paedagogica Historica: International Journal of the History of Education, v45 n3 p309-328 2009
This paper first provides an overview of the topics featured in China's "Educational Journal" in the period 1909-1948, in order to sketch briefly the history of that country's pattern of selection from among various modes of foreign educational thought. It becomes clear that, in each case, China absorbed from outside only those ideas that could fit with its own traditional forms of educational thinking, and that for this reason it tended to oscillate between turning toward the outside world for new ideas and drawing back into itself to reflect on its own educational culture, policies and institutions. The paper then interprets this dynamic in terms of Niklas Luhmann's theory of self-reference. In Luhmann's social systems theory, any system defines, identifies or constitutes itself at each (in this case historical) moment in relation to another system by absorbing from that other system only what it perceives as being compatible with its own inner organisation, or (as Luhmann puts it) by always absorbing the "difference" between what already lies within it (e.g. traditional Chinese culture, values and ideas) and what lies outside it (e.g. the culture, values and ideas of the West, with which China found itself already inevitably interconnected). (Contains 5 figures and 32 footnotes.)
Routledge. Available from: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 325 Chestnut Street Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Fax: 215-625-2940; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: China