University of Tasmania
whole_ZhangShaoquan2003_thesis.pdf (9 MB)

The impact of ELT on ideology in post-Mao China

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posted on 2023-05-27, 14:30 authored by Zhang, Shaoquan
This thesis takes a political approach to English Language Teaching (ELT) in post-Mao China. It was prompted by two parallel developments in the past twenty years or so: the expansion of ELT and changes in ideology. The thesis looks into the hitherto scarcely explored political aspects of ELT and finds that ELT has significant impact on both the official ideology and the people's belief system. The study fills in a gap in the research of contemporary Chinese politics by revealing the political consequences and implications of ELT. Findings of the study on the one hand de-mythologize the political innocuousness of ELT, and on the other hand throw light on the more general questions regarding the causes and process of ideological change in post-Mao China. The thesis draws on a number of concepts and analytical tools. The most important one is the model of pure ideology versus practical ideology developed by Franz Schurmann in the 1960s. With some modifications, the model views the ideology of the Chinese Communist Party as made up of possibly conflicting elements, which are located at different levels of abstraction. It also sees ideological change in terms of the shifting of some elements of the ideology from the realm of pure ideology into that of practical ideology or vice versa. Schurmann's model is used here to define both \ideology\" and \"ideological change\" and it serves as theoretical framework for the thesis. Another important concept is the three mechanisms of positivism technicalization and marketization as dominant features in ELT. (A. Pennycook 1994) In the Chinese context these mechanisms serve to create an effective channel for the influx of Western ideologies into China and this influx in turn may pose serious challenge to the official Chinese ideology. Finally there is the concept of textbooks as ideological discourse with ideological functions. (Elena Lisovskaya and Vycheslav Karpov1999) This concept is used for discussing how English-language textbooks serve as impetus of ideological change. The scope of the research covers three areas of ELT in post-Mao China: English-language textbooks English literature and ELT impact at social level. In each and all these three areas the thesis finds that ELT has significant impact on ideological change. In the English-language textbooks with the removal of the more orthodox communist ideological symbols and the insertion of symbols associated with Modernization and Western ideologies the general trend is one of de-radicalization in ideology. In literature challenged by the introduction of Western Modernist writers the previously dominant Marxist discourse has become practically irrelevant in terms of policy making and policy outcome. At the social level the thesis looks into the cases of the Voice of America and George Orwell and finds that on the one hand ELT functions in breaking Chinese political/ideological taboos forcing the authorities to adopt a double standard towards heterodox ideas. On the other hand ELT has led to a \"lily-pond effect\" in terms of growing influx of dissenting Western ideologies. Finally drawing on findings of this study and taking into account the current pace of development of ELT the thesis predicts an even greater ELT impact on ideology in the future."


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Copyright 2002 the Author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s). Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Tasmania, 2003. Includes bibliographical references (leaves 205-214)

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