The meaning of life in China’s civics curriculum: A comparative historical study on worldview construction

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Abstract

Although research conducted worldwide has pinpointed the importance of the cultivation of worldviews in citizenship education, little is known of how worldviews are constructed in the civics curriculum. In this study, we adopted a comparative historical approach to examine how China’s civics curriculum has interpreted the meaning of life for young citizens during the transformation of the country from an empire into a nation-state. The data were drawn from 210 school textbooks published between 1902 and 2020. Four historical periods were delineated: the late Qing and Republican era, the Maoist era, the Deng Xiaoping era, and the current Xi Jinping administration. The findings demonstrated the trends and changes that took place while the ideal of citizenship and citizenship education took root, driving the modernisation of Chinese society. Through this study, we contribute to the theoretical discussions on enriching civics curriculum development from a humanist perspective. Copyright © 2023 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Moral Education
Early online dateSept 2023
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - Sept 2023

Citation

Zhao, Z., & Lee, J. C.-K. (2023). The meaning of life in China’s civics curriculum: A comparative historical study on worldview construction. Journal of Moral Education. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1080/03057240.2023.2258288

Keywords

  • Curriculum
  • Worldviews
  • Citizenship education
  • Moral education
  • Meaning of life

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