ABSTRACT. Foucault’s thoughts were first introduced to China in the early 1980s. Initially, they were only discussed in the small circle of the Peking University Philosophy Department and did not impact the larger Chinese academic community. However, with the opening up of China to foreign thought, especially the introduction of postmodernism, Foucault’s thought have gradually gained influence across several different disciplines in China, including political science, sociology, and pedagogy. Foucault’s criticism of school education, his perspective on panoramic surveillance, and his opinions on disciplining society and the technology of micro-power have had a great impact on the Chinese education community. Since dissertations and theses written by graduate students have the obvious advantage of being systematic, complete, and reflective, scholars research these dissertations to try and figure out how Chinese scholars think about/use/reference Foucault’s thoughts. The research method used in this paper is text analysis; quantitative and qualitative methods are used to analyze a collection of dissertations and theses. The results of this research show that the first dissertation on one of Foucault’s theories in China appears in 2002. According to further quantitative analysis, the number of dissertations on Foucault’s theories has not steadily increased, rather it has increased in two separate phases. According to a qualitative analysis, the research topics are diverse and wide-ranging, and there are also significant qualitative differences between the doctoral dissertations and master’s theses. Foucault’s thoughts have theoretical and methodological implications in terms of analyzing discipline in school education, and they serve as an indispensable resource for studying power dynamics in school life. pp. 49–56

Keywords: Chinese pedagogy; Foucault’s thoughts; school education; text analysis; influence


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Department of Education,
East China Normal University

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