Beyond the state’s reach? Education and citizen making in China

Zhenzhou Zhao, Canglong Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This special issue aims to address the complexities and dynamics in contemporary China’s citizen-making processes, with a focus on the educational dimension.

The four articles in this special issue present citizen-making processes in both educational and cultural arenas. Based on the rich, first-hand data collected inside and outside China, the researchers revealed the dynamics of the educative processes, as the interplay of different mechanisms produces new understandings of citizenship practice.

This special issue sheds light on the rise of new types of citizens, who are emerging at the grassroots level in China, beyond the state’s strict direct regulations, along with the rise of market forces and multicultural communities in Chinese society today. Contributors to this special issue have captured an ongoing change, in that the diversified citizen-making mechanisms are, to a certain extent, mitigating the party-state’s definitive monopoly on forging citizens and are creating new spaces for individuals to develop fresh forms of political subjectivity and citizenship practice. In this sense, we argue for the unpacking of the citizen-making processes in present-day China not only from the lens of state-dominated, top-down initiatives but also from that of participatory, bottom-up initiatives performed by grassroots groups with differentiated socio-economic statuses and cultural traditions.

This special issue can be regarded as a contribution to the growing field of Chinese citizenship studies, which constitutes an integral part of the unfinished project of citizenship after orientalism.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)73-83
JournalSocial Transformations in Chinese Societies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 18 Sept 2023


  • Education
  • Citizenship


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