Children of migrant workers in urban high schools: an analysis of the dual role of education

Song, Yue (2018) Children of migrant workers in urban high schools: an analysis of the dual role of education. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Due to the limitations of the household registration system, rural migrants in Chinese cities are unable to access the same range of rights and benefits as urban natives. This rural-urban segregation has consequences beyond access to political and economic rights and resources; it has deepened to shape cultural and ideological perceptions. This deepening has a profound influence on the children of migrant workers who are moving to study in the city. Though nowadays children of migrant workers can study in urban public schools alongside local students, the rural-urban structural divide still exists and impedes personal and social relations between the two groups.
This research investigated the difficulties and opportunities encountered by children of migrant workers after they have entered urban public schools and as the face the realities of contact with urban people. The research also discussed whether educating rural and urban students together can help children of migrant workers’ social adaptation in the city, or whether this studying together model places pressures on rural students which impede their social integration into urban communities.
A ‘field-habitus’ analysis framework was used to assess rural students’ social adaptation performances in the city. Research methods including questionnaire surveys, in-depth interviews and focus groups were employed in the study. Besides rural students, urban people such as urban students and teachers whom rural students interact with in schools were investigated in the research. Moreover, to evaluate whether inclusive education in public schools has created an inclusive environment to help rural students’ social adaptation, rural students from private schools, who are receiving an exclusive education that is only for children of migrant workers, were also studied as the reference group.
Based on the data analysis, the research found that rural students from public schools are generally well-adapted to their urban lives. Additionally, compared with rural students from private schools, rural students from public schools have more urbanized behaviours and lifestyles. Meanwhile, the research indicated that rural students being educated in public schools suffer from many misunderstandings and conflicts with urban students, which may bring them more pressures related to social adaptation compared with their counterparts in private schools.
Rural students’ social adaptation performances were attributed to the dual functions of education, meaning that education in public schools may either improve or impede children of migrant workers’ adaptation to their lives in the city. The discussion on the role of education was mainly based on Pierre Bourdieu’s Theory of Cultural Reproduction and Inclusive Education Model. Moreover, students’ family background was also taken into consideration for a more comprehensive explanation.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Children of migrant workers, inclusive education.
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
L Education > L Education (General)
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > School of Education
Supervisor's Name: Hermannsson, Dr. Kristinn and Read, Dr. Barbara
Date of Award: 2018
Depositing User: Dr Yue Song
Unique ID: glathesis:2018-9141
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 31 May 2018 15:09
Last Modified: 19 Jun 2018 13:36

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