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Higher Education, Meritocracy and Inequality in China

  • Ye Liu

Table of contents

About this book

Introduction

This book investigates the changing opportunities in higher education for different social groups during China’s transition from the socialist regime to a market economy. The first part of the book provides a historical and comparative analysis of the development of the idea of meritocracy, since its early origins in China, and in more recent western thought. The second part then explores higher education reforms in China, the part played by supposedly meritocratic forms of selection, and the implications of these for social mobility. 

Based on original empirical data, Ye Liu sheds light on the socio-economic, gender and geographical inequalities behind the meritocratic façade of the Gaokao (高考). Liu argues that the Chinese philosophical belief in education-based meritocracy had a modern makeover in the Gaokao, and that this ideology induces working-class and rural students to believe in upward social mobility through higher education. When the Gaokao broke the promise of status improvement for rural students, they turned to the Chinese Communist Party and sought political connections by actively applying for its membership. This book reveals a bleak picture of visible and invisible inequality in terms of access to and participation in higher education in contemporary China. Written in an accessible style, it offers a valuable resource for researchers and non-specialist readers alike.

Keywords

Higher Education in China Meritocratic Selection education-based meritocracy educational opportunities educational disparities in china higher education governance life chances social harmony social inequality

Authors and affiliations

  • Ye Liu
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of International DevelopmentKing's College London Department of International DevelopmentLondonUnited Kingdom

Bibliographic information

  • DOI https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-10-1588-5
  • Copyright Information Springer Science+Business Media Singapore 2016
  • Publisher Name Springer, Singapore
  • eBook Packages Education
  • Print ISBN 978-981-10-1586-1
  • Online ISBN 978-981-10-1588-5
  • Series Print ISSN 2365-6352
  • Series Online ISSN 2365-6360
  • Buy this book on publisher's site