Added: Tung Coolidge - Date: 03.04.2022 06:14 - Views: 13735 - Clicks: 7545
My Dad was really serious about education. When I was in primary school—well in the city, [schools] all have English classes, right? But in the country that's not the case. So my Dad took me every single night to the English teacher's house to study, then he'd come back later to pick me up.
So he sent me off to the Attached School of Dalian University of Technology, pretty much the best junior high school in the city. That's when I left home and began my own life. Even in the Arts faculty where I currently teach, but far more so in Commerce and Business programs, a ificant proportion of the students in our classrooms are now young people in Arts, especially young women who have grown up in China and travelled to Australia expressly for tertiary study.
The growing presence of these students over the past decade prompts certain questions that provide a ificant impetus for the study on which this article is based. Who are these students? How does it feel to move from Dalian to Melbourne, say, to study? What role might transnational mobility play in the process of identity formation at this transitional stage in young women's lives? What difference could education abroad make in these students' gendered outlooks, identifications, and life plans? In this article I argue that in their focus on mobility as central to the kinds of selfhood they desire and are working toward, Chinese international students like Kang Shun, quoted above, exemplify the rise of 'portable personhood' beyond the global 'rich north.
In the age of advanced globalization, we witness portable personhood [emphasis in original]. Identity becomes not merely 'bent' towards novel forms of transportation and travel but fundamentally recast in terms of capacities for movement. Put another way, the globalization of mobility extends into the core of the self. Particularly relevant to the present study is Kaufmann, Bergman and Joye's argument that increasingly, social mobility—the capacity to move upward in social class—is interdependent with the individual's capacity for geographic mobility. Thus, motility can be seen as a form of capital, 'movement capital,' which is linked with and may under some circumstances be exchanged for other forms of capital, including economic capital.
As Karen Kelsky has observed in her extended study of 'internationalist' Japanese women in the s, women's travel for education and professional development, and the concomitant potential for social mobility, challenges entrenched associations of women with family, home, tradition and the local. With high rates of female education and labour participation and notable trends toward delayed marriage among urban women, many young women are conceptualising themselves as individualised subjects, increasingly—though certainly incompletely—drawing away from the familial obligations that have historically defined women's social identity.
As Vanessa Fong observes in her important study of transnational Chinese students in the developed world, for such students, overseas study is often both part of a long-term family strategy of upward mobility, and a rite of passage tied to the individual's transition from adolescence to adulthood. This can be seen in Kang Shun's rhetorical framing of her own orientation toward her educational journey in this article's epigraph. She presents her geographic trajectory from primary school in rural Liaoning to high school in urban Dalian to university study in Melbourne—albeit propelled by the family's hopes for her, as personified in the role of her father—as the story of leaving home to build her 'own life': working on the project of her self through her educational travels.
This article asks how such young Chinese 'internationalist' women to borrow Kelsky's apt term ,  conditioned by the national-level social and historical contexts that produced them, actively re-make their selves and their life projects through their transnational education ventures. My analysis reveals that, like arguably all modern Chinese women, these students have grown up with and been shaped by a of competing and contradictory discourses of gendered personhood.
In particular, I show how the mobile self-making project of which they see overseas study as a part stands in contradiction with influential gender discourses within China that associate adult women's social role with the care of familial others rather than the care of the self. The final section of this article offers a necessarily speculative discussion of how extended experiences of transnational mobility might ultimately affect such women's negotiation of that contradiction. In the article I present the of a pilot study that was carried out in Melbourne in With the aim of investigating the questions above, I conducted semi-structured interviews with fifteen female higher education students from the People's Republic of China, mainly one-on-one but some in small friendship groups, with interviews lasting between one and four hours and an average length of about minutes.
I conducted eight interviews in Mandarin and two in English, according to interviewees' preference. Although the interviews were in-depth, owing to the necessarily limited character of a pilot study the of interviewees was relatively small; the aim was to lay some groundwork for a much more extensive longitudinal study over coming years.
This preliminary study presents something like 'snapshots' of these fifteen young women at a particular point in time; richer contextualisation of their past experiences and unfolding experience in Australia must await the larger-scale study. It is also worth noting that since a majority of the interviewees were at a relatively early stage of their stay in Australia, their views represent more their hopes and expectations about what their stay would enable for them, than final evaluations of the overseas study experience but see the discussion of the three later-stage students in the final section.
International education and social mobility The most direct enabling factor for the dramatic rise in the s of students from China pursuing overseas education in recent years has been the growth in China's market economy since the s, and the concomitant emergence of a newly rich class for whom the high cost of university fees in developed countries is justified by the competitive advantage that an overseas degree confers on graduates. The end of the 'iron rice bowl' system of lifetime state-ased employment under Maoism and the development of a market economy after have led to the emergence of hyper-competitive employment markets in urban China.
For most of the young women I spoke with, memories of the stresses of intensely competitive secondary education in China remained fresh. Interviewees were also acutely conscious of the fierce competition for white-collar jobs, especially in China's largest cities, and told me that an undergraduate degree from the second-ranked Chinese universities to which their high school grades would admit them would have made a good job difficult to secure. Many saw a degree from a prestigious Australian university as the next best alternative to graduation from a top-ranked Chinese institution,  underlining the inherent links between international education and social stratification and mobility in China's post-reforms economy.
For example, Tang Shujuan, a year old from Shenzhen who had been in Melbourne for nine months studying toward entry into a Commerce degree, revealed that her greatest hope in life was to use her educational qualifications to get a job that would allow her to earn enough money to give her parents a comfortable old age. Meanwhile, Ma Mianmian saw her time in Australia partly as an opportunity to make useful social contacts among her classmates. She told me: My Dad says the academic qualification you get, and the kind of university you attend, will determine what kind of friends you have.
So your environment decides everything, your friends are really very important. Market capitalism creates new formations of feminine gender identity based not on family or work-unit ties but instead on labour-market value and recreational consumption. This model of human nature has the desiring subject at its core: the individual who operates through sexual, material, and affective self-interest.
To simplify somewhat, the privatisation of state enterprise was paralleled by the privatisation of selfhood and the new imaginability of a 'self-animating, self-staging subject'; an entrepreneur of the self motivated by private accumulation and self-interest, open to both the opportunities and the risks of the new market economy. Rofel's interviews with a group of young, urban, unmarried, heterosexual working women in the late s—in age, approximately the mother generation to my interviewees—revealed their desire for a 'free' cosmopolitan consumer-selfhood that they saw as standing in opposition to gendered family obligation.
For this generation, the self-animating subject is specifically one that animates across national borders. However, the new culture of post-socialism has produced contradictory effects in public discourses on gender. In contrast to the superficially gender-neutral ideal of the self-enterprising subject, Rofel also notes the post-Mao public-cultural re construction of adult women as 'naturally' focussed on the care of family. Many of the women I spoke with, like Rofel's interviewees from the preceding generation, spoke fluently of their desire to achieve free, individualised, cosmopolitan selfhood.
They saw study abroad as enabling them to further their self-making projects in two ways additional to the basic sense in which study is always, by definition, a project of self-making : through the consolidation of a cosmopolitan identity, and through the inculcation of personal independence and life skills.
Illustrating the continuing cultural valorisation of female self-reliance, which has been a widely promoted attribute in post-socialist public culture since the mids, interviewees also described overseas education as fostering independence. Economic and temperamental independence were seen as valuable attributes for the kind of life-projects to which these young women were aspiring: either competitive advancement in China's capitalist economy, or a life spent working overseas far from the support networks of their family's elder generations.
For example Bai Shuling, a recent arrival who I interviewed in her freezing, unheated rental room on a winter's afternoon, said that she thought her time in Australia so far had made her 'more independent, and struggle for the dream': When I took my luggage out of the airport, then I realized, everything [must rely] on yourself. You cannot ask others. Even when you are really worried or helpless, you must be strong enough. I never regard myself as a girl. I think I should [make] my [own] decisions all the time and not worry my parents.
All the things I told them are good news. They never know that this [rental room] is really cold, or what[ever]. For her, the capacity for autonomous self-management needed both to endure the icy winter months alone in a strange land, and, implicitly, to realise her career goal, stood in contrast to what she described as a common understanding of 'girls' as people who, 'when they have some difficulties, will resort to their friends, and [tell] them, or cry, or what[ever].
I don't do this. Some, like Chen Ying, strongly emphasised their pursuit of independent selfhood over romantic relationships: I'm a fairly independent person. In terms of love, I'll just go with the flow. I'd rather too little [love life] than too much. I think my life is very rich, I don't feel there's some great gap that I need to fill with love. I feel that as a person on my own, there's such a lot waiting for me out there to do.
Even if I did get married or have a boyfriend, I'd still want to concentrate on myself, and my own life. I hope that at the same time as I have a family, I can also have my own independent career. Then looking back, one's life will have had more ificance. Even if you don't have anything else, at least you have your self.
Strongly motivated by her intellectual engagement with biological science, she saw her career—which she hoped would be as a research microbiologist, perhaps in the USA—as of defining ificance both for her life plan and for her personal identity. When I asked her what she most wanted to achieve in her life, she responded very precisely: I want to know the reason why I came to this world. Because I study biology, and in the definition of biology, it seems that one individual is just part of a whole community, and your meaning is just within that.
It makes me feel quite—[makes a pained expression]. I don't want to be a person who just follows the rules the society gave you. And I want to know what's the difference between me and other people. And I want to know where is my value. And like Shuling above, she sees her pursuit of her quest as by definition placing her at odds with social norms, including those of gender 'I don't want to be a person who just follows the rules the society gave you'.
In considering this, it is useful to contextualise the mothers' generation's gendered experience historically. My interviewees' mothers were born between the mids and the early s, coming of age during the first decade of economic reform. This was a time of turbulent cultural transformations.
It was the time when the discourse on 'natural' sex differences, discussed above, rose to dominance, with the concomitant re emergence of strongly gender-marked women's fashion cultures. Meanwhile, state feminism encouraged women to understand themselves as independent, self-focused subjects. Since , the All-China Women's Federation has urged women to pursue the 'four selfs' of 'self-respect, self-reliance, self-confidence, and self-strengthening. In other words, the early years of the Reforms era, like the present time, constitute a period of gendered contradiction, with new opportunities for fashioning gendered identity emerging for urban women at the same time as they were also beset by new risks in both the home and the labour market.
There is thus no radical, epochal break between the social conditions and dominant discursive structures under which these mother and daughter generations have come of age. Rather, the daughters' generation is experiencing a deepening and extension of trends that were already of defining ificance in their mothers' day. However, despite such broad similarities between the social contexts in which these two generations came of age, many of my interviewees rhetorically distinguished themselves from their mothers' generation by expressing the hope that they would be able to shrug off the gendered constraints that they thought hampered their mothers, especially what they understood as their mothers' generation's familial orientation and relative lack of independent selfhood.
For example: My mother's generation would go out and earn money in order to support the family. Supporting the family was the centre of their life, whereas we have lots of different pursuits. I hope my family does well, and I hope my marriage will be good, and I hope my work life will be good too.
Tang Shujuan I think if I asked my Mum, she might not have any plans about her own life. She would place more emphasis on her hopes for me in the future; or her hopes that my father will continue in good health and so on.
She would have no hopes for her own career. Su Qi Here, generational change is constructed teleologically as an emancipatory process: for the speakers' mothers, family duty was central to gendered identity, while the speakers represent themselves as free to live singly or enlightened by the knowledge that one's life can be organised differently from the dictates of social convention.
Yet the point here is not whether my interviewees made a socio-historically accurate assessment of generational change. What is more important for my argument is these young women's view of themselves as breaking with historically entrenched gender norms in their pursuit of the ideal of independent, individualised selfhood.
I propose that for these interviewees, the collective assertion that they are gender-unconventional and different from their mothers provides a means of mediating the tension between the two currently influential yet inherently contradictory discourses of gender and personhood that I outlined at the beginning of this article. To recall, these are the neoliberal-style discourse of universal, free, self-interested personhood, versus the contemporaneous discourse that constructs adult women as 'naturally' focussed on the care of family members. In the statements quoted above, the mother generation is rhetorically pressed into service as representative of the familial orientation that post-socialist public culture attributes to 'women's nature.
In other words, the post-socialist construction of femininity as naturally associated with family care work means that in identifying with the contemporaneous ideal of self-enterprising personhood, these young women are forced in that same moment either to adopt a consciously de-gendered position recall Bai Shuling: 'I never regard myself as a girl' , or to actively rework the meaning of femininity as with Zhou Yaqi, who spoke angrily about people who assume that a woman can't start a business, and said she planned to do so just to prove them wrong.
In constructing a generational narrative that pivots on a clear opposition between the mothers' family-centrism and the daughters' self-centrism, the daughters attempt symbolically to resolve contradictions that actually characterise the experience of both mother and daughter generations, but of which the daughters are most keenly aware in their present life stage as unmarried young women ambitiously pursuing transnational educational ventures. In her extensive study of mother-daughter relationships across twentieth-century China, Harriet Evans observes that a tendency for daughters to represent themselves as freer and more independent than their mothers is in fact common across the several generations of urban daughters born between the s and the s.Qinhuangdao women sexuality
email: [email protected] - phone:(993) 930-6124 x 9169
Prostitutes Qinhuangdao, Where find a girls in Hebei