Author

Juanjuan Zhu

Date of Award:

2013

Document Type:

Dissertation

Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department:

School of Teacher Education and Leadership

Advisor/Chair:

Steven P. Camicaia

Abstract

Amid a recent wave of revived interest in citizenship and citizenship education, foreign language education is emerging as an important but under-researched site for the education of citizens under conditions of globalization and massive social, economic, and political changes. This qualitative study deconstructed the concept of good citizenship embedded in China's and America's foreign language curricula during the past decade. The study presented a comparative critical discourse analysis of four interwoven data sets: (a) foreign language policies and/or curriculum standards bounded by the two contexts of this study: Shanghai in China and Utah in the U.S.; (b) EFL (English as a foreign language) and CFL (Chinese as a foreign language) instructional materials developed for the 1st through 3rd and 10th through 12th graders in Shanghai and Utah, respectively; (c) media accounts relating foreign language education with citizenship education in the two countries; and (d) relevant academic publications. Together with a body of critical literature on ideology in curriculum, a two-dimensional citizenship matrix consisting of nationalism, cosmopolitanism, neoliberalism, and Confucianism assisted in the identification and comparison of the country-specific sociopolitical and sociocultural meanings associated with being a good citizen in China and the U.S. Three sets of findings were reported in response to the three research questions. First, among a jumble of meanings and expectations, the most widely shared imaginary embedded in China's EFL curriculum is an individual whose allegiance is to the nation and the market, whereas the second popular perception is someone who observes Confucian moral principles and adopts a global perspective. Second, the dominant good citizenship notion embedded in America's CFL curriculum is characterized by a marked neoliberal orientation. Third, the two cases demonstrated two chief differences and two major similarities. Due to the unique social contexts, cultural institutions, and global power differentials of China and the U.S., the good citizenship discursive fields of two cases were qualitatively different both in terms of intent and belonging. The discursive fields were similar in that the neoliberal-nationalism discourse was prevalent and the officially preferred good citizenship notion was oppressive in nature in both cases.

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