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Sociological Imagination of Educational Inequality: A Case Study of the Educational Conditions of “Left-Behind Children” and the Younger Generation of Migrants in China

Date: March 24,2022 |Hits: 2138 Download PDF How to cite this paper

Huidi Ma1,*, Yi Qie2

1Chinese National Academy of Arts, Beijing, China.

2China Development Research Foundation, Beijing, China.

*Corresponding author: Huidi Ma


Forty years of China’s reform and opening-up has fueled large-scale migration, which produced a huge floating population of children who switch between the state of being ‘left-behind’ and being ‘migrant’. They have now grown up to become a new generation of domestic migrants in Chinese cities, facing difficulties in attending school and high dropout rate due to household registration system, reduced social mobility, and alienation from cultural traditions. Data analysis and social surveys show that their all-round development have been hindered by multiple factors, such as unequal distribution of educational resources, restricted migration, unbalanced distribution of social dividends, little social mobility, and the rupture of the traditional rural education system. Although this phenomenon has long been studied by the academic community, most of the previous works placed emphasis on analyzing survey data and describing the general trends, while little attention has been paid to synthesizing the underlying causes and the insidious consequences. The focus of this paper is to explore how the development of left-behind and migrant children is conditioned by multiple factors such as social structures, institutional arrangements, intergenerational changes, cultural shifts and educational systems. Building on the latest official data and literature, this work is empirically based on years of social observation, case study, and in-depth interviews. The aim is to identify the shortcomings in the education and policy system, while furthering the current understanding of the gains and losses of individuals, families and the nation in the process of China’s rapid rise.


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How to cite this paper

Sociological Imagination of Educational Inequality: A Case Study of the Educational Conditions of “Left-Behind Children” and the Younger Generation of Migrants in China

How to cite this paper: Huidi Ma, Yi Qie. (2022) Sociological Imagination of Educational Inequality: A Case Study of the Educational Conditions of “Left-Behind Children” and the Younger Generation of Migrants in China. Journal of Humanities, Arts and Social Science6(1), 141-150.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.26855/jhass.2022.01.014

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