Does Western knowledge flow into Chinese universities? A case study of Chinese returned academics and academic knowledge flows
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From the outset of China’s Reform and Opening up period in 1978 and until 2015, 2.2 million Chinese students returned to the country upon completion of their qualification abroad. Among these returnees are a large number of overseas-educated academics who have been enticed back to Chinese academia by the government and universities in order to facilitate China’s competition in globalised higher education. Therefore, an investigation of the contributions of this cohort to the Chinese academic community is considered both timely and worthwhile. This paper draws on interview data collected as part of a doctoral research study. In particular, it examines the experience of one Chinese returned academic’s engagement with knowledge flows. Detailed analysis of the interview accounts suggests that, on the one hand, the participant recognises the fundamental position of certain disciplinary knowledge. On the other hand, he opposes “borrowism”, advocates critical appropriation of Western knowledge, and emphasises the need to re-contextualise exotic ideas and to incorporate these within Chinese knowledge. The analysis also highlights the significance of personal involvement in society to better understand and document local knowledge.
Refereed Proceedings of TASA 2016 Conference. The Annual Conference of The Australian Sociological Association: Cities & Successful Societies
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