Modern Other and non-Modern Self: Discourses, Silences, and Ruptures of Chinese Modernity Deployed in Blogs Regarding Chinese Students Seeking Education Abroad
Lott-Havey, Nicholas Ian
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Universities around the world are increasingly looking to international students to make up for dwindling state support. The past four decades have seen increased numbers of Chinese students seeking education abroad. Much of the social science research on transnational students focuses on how they are subject to discourses of Modernity and state/transnational Neoliberal projects. These studies fail to take into account how individuals and entities deploy uneven discourses for their own purposes. This thesis looks at Chinese blogs produced by individuals, study abroad experts, advisory services, and businesses to identify how these entities deploy and contest these uneven notions of Modernity. This is achieved through digital humanities methods in using the natural language processing tool MALLET on a corpus of 90 blogs, and a discourse analysis on a selection of 31 blogs from this corpus. The identified silences and ruptures focus on discursive construction of the West and Western education as exotic and Modern, compared to a non-Modern China full of economic pressures and realities. Ruptures occur around the purpose of receiving a Modern education, and the West as a site of freedom or corruption. This research explores the discursive construction of Chinese Modernity in relation to an increasing body of Chinese international students, and how these syncretic individuals and entities shape and are shaped by discourses of Chinese Modernity.
- Geography