From Obedience to Resistance: Understanding Equal Rights to Education Movement as a Cultural Process

  • Anqi Liu
Part of the The Contemporary City book series (TCONTCI)


The current ethnographic study attempts to examine the Equal Rights to Education Movement in China and to understand it as a cultural process. Aiming at the removal of hukou limitation in education, the movement is allegedly the biggest social movement in China since decades. Adopting a grounded theory approach, the study gathered data from interviews, participatory observations and reviews of movement-generated material. The movement’s role as a cultural process is underlined: aggrieved participants got involved with the motivation to stop private experiences of injury, which was subsequently expanded to fighting for the collective ‘we’. From subject to citizens, activists gained awareness of their rights and autonomy vis-a-vis state’s colonisation of life and values. The movement also provided a site within which horizontal self-organisation as well as deliberation with opposition was practised.


Chinese activism Migrant worker Rights to education Cultural process Solidarity Civic consciousness Self-organisation 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anqi Liu
    • 1
  1. 1.Albert-Ludwigs-Universität FreiburgFreiburg im BreisgauGermany

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