Popular culture in mainland Chinese education

Wai-Chung Ho*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


The policy and practice of school education in mainland China have changed in response to the political and economic reformations and opening-up of the late 1970s. This paper argues that, despite the introduction and emphasis on popular culture in some areas of school education, traditional Chinese culture and values continue to consolidate the authority of the State. The paper first establishes a framework for the analysis of popular culture in education. Secondly, it enquires into the policy of incorporating popular culture in education and educational reform, in accordance with current social changes in China. Thirdly, the paper analyses three pairs of social and political relationships that shape education and cultural identity in the school curriculum: (a) between collectivist Communist education and individualist popular culture; (b) between the education of Chinese traditions and virtues on the one hand, and popular culture on the other; and (c) between schools' and teachers' attitudes toward popular culture, and students' reactions to classroom learning. The paper concludes with a discussion of the contentious political issues surrounding the integration of popular culture in education.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)348-363
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Education Journal: Comparative Perspectives
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2006

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Education

User-Defined Keywords

  • Mainland China
  • popular culture
  • education reform
  • social change
  • challenge


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