ERG SES D 06, Policies and Education
While some parts of Europe are experiencing the population transition of the arrival of ‘people from more varied national, ethnic, linguistic and religious backgrounds’ (Meissner and Vertovec, 2014: 542), China is experiencing a population transition of internal migration. In China, during the last three decades of urbanization, millions of rural labourers have left their hometowns and come to work in the urban areas. They do not hold a household registration (Hukou) in the places where they are working in, and many of them belong to low-income groups. Their children have encountered many difficulties accessing free compulsory education in urban state schools. For example, in state primary/secondary school recruitment, the schools give first priority to children with local household registration card. And most of the migrant parents cannot afford to send their children to private schools. Facing this problem, the central government promulgated a policy in 2001 stating that ‘the destination local government and state schools should be the mainstream channels for recruiting migrant children in compulsory education stage’. In order to achieve this goal, the destination local governments set up loose state school enrolment criteria towards migrant children. However, the loose state school enrolment criteria changed since 2012. In some cities, governments started to set up more strict state school enrolment criteria for migrant children. The drastic policy change has caused hardships to many migrant families. As a result, many migrant children have to go back to their parents’ hometown to study, or to stay in the city and enroll in unregistered and informal private schools.
Research question and objective
Why has the policy of migrant children’s state school enrolment criteria changed since 2012? Educational policy can be influenced by political, economic, cultural and other factors. Using Bourdieusian theoretical resources, this research aims at exploring how political, economical and cultural factors shape the migrant children’s educational policy in China. The findings of this paper might also have some implications for the research of migrant education in Europe, since migrant children’s school enrolment can also be an issue in some parts of Europe.
‘Field’ is one of the key concepts in Bourdieu’s theory. While considering each field as a ‘separate universe governed by its own laws’ (Bourdieu, 2005: 7) which has its relative autonomy, Bourdieu also suggests that interactions exist among different fields (Bourdieu and Wacquant, 1992: 109-110). Adopting Bourdieu’s concept of ‘field’, some researchers (Ladwig, 1994; Lingard and Rawolle, 2004; Lingard, Rawolle and Taylor, 2005; Thomson, 2005) have theorized educational policy as ‘educational policy field’ and have explored the ‘cross-field effects’ among different fields, such as educational policy, journalism/media, economy, and politics, illustrating ‘how today educational policy can be spawned from developments in other public policy fields’ (Lingard and Rawolle, 2004: 361).
My research develops this initial analytical framework of ‘cross-field effects’ by integrating it with the ideas of ‘interactions of field’ ‘shared agents’ ‘logic of practice’ and ‘field/capital/habitus’. Supported by empirical data, this paper gives an account of the nature of ‘cross-field effect’ as following: field A continuously ‘exports’ its logic of practice into field B through their shared agents. The logic of field A can either brings changes to the logic of field B or continuously ‘confines’ it to be in accordance with the logic of field A. These two effects are coexisting synchronously among the coexist fields. The changed logic in field B shapes the ways that the agents exerting their social/cultural/economic capital in the struggle to be similar with that of field A, producing similarities between the policies in field B and their counterparts in field A.
Bourdieu, P. and Wacquant, L. (1992) An Invitation to Reflective Sociology, Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. Bourdieu, P. (2005) The Social Structures of the Economy, Cambridge: Polity Press. Ladwig, J. (1994) ‘For whom this reform?: outlining educational policy as a social field’, British Journal of Sociology of Education, 15(3): 341-363. Lingard, B. and Rawolle S. (2004) ‘Mediatizing educational policy: the journalistic field, science policy, and cross-field effects’, Journal of Educational policy, 19(3): 361-380. Lingard, B., Rawolle, S. and Taylor, S. (2005) ‘Globalizing policy sociology in education: working with Bourdieu’, Journal of Educational policy, 20(6): 759-777. Thomson P. (2005) ‘Bringing Bourdieu to policy sociology: codification, misrecognition and exchange value in the UK context’, Journal of Educational policy, 20(6): 741-758.
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