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Doing (Critical) Qualitative Research in China in a Global Era Ping-Chun Hsiung Sociology, University of Toronto (Be-)Deutungsansprüche in qualitativer.

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Presentation on theme: "Doing (Critical) Qualitative Research in China in a Global Era Ping-Chun Hsiung Sociology, University of Toronto (Be-)Deutungsansprüche in qualitativer."— Presentation transcript:

1 Doing (Critical) Qualitative Research in China in a Global Era Ping-Chun Hsiung Sociology, University of Toronto (Be-)Deutungsansprüche in qualitativer Forschung Frankfurt, Germany, May 5, 2012

2 Presentation Structure Doing critical qualitative research at the periphery –Anglo-American domination –Local hegemonic discourse Structural forces at the local and global levels Two Chinese cases in qualitative studies –Employing theoretical model originated from the US to assess Curriculum Reform in China –Study of peasants resistance How to transform the landscape of doing critical qualitative research in a global era

3 The Global Context An emerging international community Facilitating productive dialogue across the core and periphery Attributes of critical qualitative research Objectives of critical qualitative research

4 The Chinese context Introducing Sociology in 1903 Three research traditions –Quantitative research –Qualitative research –Dingxing Yanjiua method intended to identify the essence of sociopolitical problems Three issues –Quantitative approach as the primary method –Anglo-American domination – Effects of Dingxing Yanjiu

5 Case One: Studies of the Curriculum Reform Policy context –The Guidelines for Curriculum Reform of Basic Education (2001) Principles Objectives Coverage Research context –15 MA and PhD theses –Policy evaluation

6 Two research orientations (I) Adopting the US model, Concerns Based Adoption Model (CBAM) –Positivistic, deductive logic in framing & data gathering; –Binary categorization in data analysis; Example of binary categorizationExample of binary categorization (II) Subscribing the individual-centered, official rhetoric –The passive, ignorant teachers –The nutty, unruly students

7 Example of binary categorization Questions Have you begun to carry out the new curriculum ?YYYY In your application, have you made any modifications?NNYY Have you collaborated with other teachers?NNNN Do you plan to make major changes in curriculum? Or, do you plan to propose alternative strategies to replace the curriculum? NNNN AABB MNYZ

8 The passive, ignorant teachers Excerpt on the passive, ignorant teachers By and large, teachers at the school where I conducted my ethnographic fieldwork have shown no strong initiative in implementing the curriculum. Based upon my daily conversations with the teachers and my observations of conversations among the teachers themselves, they really are not interested in the reform…As I pointed out earlier, although they have followed the requirement to use the new textbooks, there is little change in their teaching style. This type of attitude undoubtedly is detrimental to the implementation of the new curriculum in rural areas (Liu Honggang, 2007, p. 32).

9 The nutty, unruly students Excerpts on the nutty, unruly students #1 If you really started a discussion, those nutty students would take advantage of the situation, and get into some kind of mischief. The entire class would become unruly. Besides, the quality and knowledge base of the students are pretty poor. They are not ready to participate in any kind of meaningful discussion. #2 If you really ask students to get their hands dirty, some wont follow the instruction to bring the right materials. Others will start doing something else that is completely unrelated to the content of the session. Still others will simply sit there in silence. There is really nothing one can do about those students. In order to keep up with the required schedule, simply following the traditional pedagogy [lecturing] is the only option left.

10 Discussion Inadequate training Calling upon Western theory for justification Interplay between Anglo-American domination and local hegemonic discourse

11 Case Two: Studying Peasants resistance during the Great Leap Forward ( ) Historical and research contexts of the Great Leap Forward –Historical context A massive political campaign to modernize China A nationalistic campaign to show superiority of Chinese Marxism over Western capitalism A nationwide famine with million deaths –Research context The Great Famine or Maos Famine

12 Discovering truth from below Research Process of Wangling Gao –Personal background –Research questions How peasants managed to survive Why more people didnt die –Two politically charged terms manchan sifeng (concealing production and private distribution of grain) tou (stealing)

13 An awkward starting point Excerpt When I visit my fellow villagers upon my return twenty some years later, if I start out by asking them if they have ever involved in manchan sifeng (concealing production and private distribution of grain) or tou (stealing) in order to survive the ordeal, how awkward and inappropriate would it be.

14 Research findings: Three distinctive terms 1. manchan sifeng (concealing production and private distribution of grain) 2.tou (stealing) – gong tou(official stealing) and da tou (grand embezzlement) –si tou (covert stealing) and xiao tou (petty stealing) ; Incident of si tou (covert stealing)Incident of si tou (covert stealing) 3.zhuawo (withholding, picking up)

15 Incident of si tou (covert stealing) In general, people sent their kids or women in the house [to do it]. Even if they did get caught, it would not be too big of an offence, like counter-revolutionary attack or something of that nature. [They mainly] steal grain, sorghum, corn, those kind of autumn grains. Its not that people stole a huge amount in one shot. Its kind of daily, petty theft. It became an accepted routine, even though it was not part of the public system. [For example,] in cutting wheat, one would purposely be sloppy, to not be thorough enough. You then went back to pick up what was left in the field.

16 Incidents of zhuawo (withholding, picking up) For example, if friends come over and we run out of beans, we simply go and pick something up from the field. Of course we hide them in our small baskets. In fact, everyday we go working in the field, we have our baskets with us. We put grass clippings on top of the grain and we bring it home. No matter how downright honest an individual is, he picks up grain from the field. No one considers it a shameful thing to do.

17 Incidents of zhuawo (withholding, picking up) If you mean zhuawo (withholding), then it is much more prevalent. Once in the field, if one fellow villager starts doing it, everyone follows. We only hide it from the cadres. If youre a bit more daring, you take more. If youre a bit timid, you take less. Without zhuawo, we would have run out of food in early autumn. When we bring home stuffs from the field, we get things to fill our stomach. No matter how watchful the official is, they cannot stop us from doing it. …. Working in the field for a season, one would probably take about a hundred Jin of grain home [one Jin is equal to 0.5 kilogram]. It comes to thirty Jin per family member. This is really not much!! Those who take much more, theyre like thief. They steal grain to re-sell it for profit.

18 Counter-Action as an alternative framework From peasants resistant tactics and unassuming survival behaviors to Counter- Action Counter-Action as an alternative framework

19 Discussion 1. Discovering truth from below 2. Outsider turned insider versus returned insider 3. Lack of a receptive international intellectual community for critical qualitative research from the periphery

20 Conclusion Remaking the international intellectual platforms A history in the making


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