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Palgrave Macmillan

Cultivating the Confucian Individual

The Confucian Education Revival in China

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  • © 2023


  • Explores the complexities of cultivating ‘Confucian individuals’ using the school ethnography approach
  • Applies the theoretical perspective of individualization to the Confucian education revival in contemporary China
  • Reveals the rise of critical parents, pedagogical individualization, and institutional and moral dilemmas

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Table of contents (8 chapters)


About this book

This book explores the complexities of cultivating ‘Confucian individuals’ through classics study in contemporary China by drawing on the individualization thesis and its implications for the Confucian education revival. Based on ethnographic fieldwork conducted at a Confucian classical school, three topics are investigated: parents’ narratives and actions related to ‘dis-embedding’ their children from mainstream state education and transferring them to Confucian education as an alternative; the specific discourses and practices of teaching and learning the classics in everyday school life, guided by the aim of training students to become autonomous learners; and the institutional and subjective dilemmas that arise when parents and students seek to ‘re-embed’ themselves in either the state education system or further Confucian studies at an advanced academy for the next stage of education. The research presented in this book contributes to understanding the hidden dynamics of individualization in the Confucian education revival and the intricacies of subject-making through Confucian teaching and learning in the socialist state of China. 


Authors and Affiliations

  • Faculty of Arts Cultures and Education, University of Hull, Hull, UK

    Canglong Wang

About the author

Canglong Wang is a lecturer in Chinese Studies at the University of Hull, UK. His research extensively explores the cultural, social and political implications of the revival of Confucian education in contemporary China. His work has appeared in many leading journals and book chapters. He is the author of The Rise of Confucian Citizens in China (2023).

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