WP191 Stance-taking and the discursive construction of ethnicity in schools: Insights from southwestern China

Jing Zhang
Collection: Key words ,


Few studies of ethnic education in China have explored new perspectives generated by the conditions of late modernity where traditional, and often essentialist, conceptualizations of ethnic identity and culture have lost their explaining power. This paper aims to explore how ethnicity is constructed by students from a senior secondary school in southwestern China through a microscopic focus on the situated construction of meaning. To shift away from essentialist conceptualizations of ethnicity, this paper presents a study that investigated a student’s discursive construction of ethnicity through a detailed interactional analysis of an interview, in which the student describes an activity where she and her classmates were asked to organize an ethnic-unity-themed class meeting to be video recorded and later shown to a state delegation examining the promotion of ethnic unity education among schools in China. The analysis pays attention to how that student constructed her understanding of ethnicity through the stances she took when she described their preparation for the activity.