Cultural recognition, gender and ethnicity: A case study of three Chinese universities

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Cultural recognition is a becoming an increasingly important perspective to analyze inequality in terms of gender, racial, and cultural differentiation. It is argued that justice comprises both socioeconomic redistribution, and recognition of difference and identity. This paper explores how gender and ethnicity interact in the struggle of female minority students for meaningful participation in Chinese universities. As one of the largest ethnic groups in China, Mongols have a population of 5.8 million, and are one of the only two minority groups who ever subjugated the majority Han in China’s history. Nevertheless, this group’s survival is threatened by pressures arising from modernization, sinocization and globalization nowadays. The narrative data of female Mongol students in three universities (Inner Mongolia Normal University located in Huhhot, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region; Beijing Normal University in Beijing; and the South China University for Nationalities in Wuhan, Hubei Province) portrayed the lives of being a female ethnic member in diverse institutional and social contexts within China. The research finding reveals how gender is employed to symbolize ethnicity at the institutional level and how female members negotiate their ethnic identities at the personal level. The case of female Mongol students offers an understanding of the manner in which gender and ethnicity interplay under the influence of marketization and globalization and the way in which identity is constructed by state education.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2009


Zhao, Z. (2009, March). Cultural recognition, gender and ethnicity: A case study of three Chinese universities. Paper presented at the 53rd Annual Conference of the Comparative and International Education Society (CIES) 2009: The Politics of Comparison, Charleston, SC.


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