ABSTRACT. As in other parts of the world, the last decade has witnessed a significant expansion in private tutoring in China, globally known as shadow education. Such tutoring activities occupy much of the spare time of K12 students, consume a considerable amount of family resources, and have far-reaching educational and social implications. This paper utilizes Foucault’s governmentality theory to explore how governance and subjectivity operate within shadow education in China. Based on the analytic framework of governmentality, this paper argues that the interplay of Confucian culture and both teacher and parent power exercised over students serve as a way of government of others, aiming at producing subjects suitable for the examination-oriented context in China. Correspondingly, as a way of self-governance, students apply discursive techniques to indicate their obedient or rebellious attitude toward private tutoring. Overall, this paper points to carrying out further research on interpreting private tutoring through the theoretical lens of Foucault. pp. 24–29

Keywords: private tutoring; shadow education; governmentality; power relations; body


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Department of Education,
East China Normal University

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