Trim: 6⅜ x 9¼
978-0-7391-6942-1 • Hardback • May 2013 • $96.00 • (£74.00)
978-0-7391-6943-8 • eBook • May 2013 • $91.00 • (£67.00)
Wang Dan is an assistant professor in the Faculty of Education, the University of Hong Kong. She is interested in issues of educational inequality with a focus on rural education and rural development in China. She is currently researching on teachers’ work as well as school leadership and organization.
Chapter 1: Introduction
Chapter 2: Chaoyang Township and Its School
Chapter 3: Struggles over the Work Routine
Chapter 4: The Clash of Cultures in Rural Classrooms
Chapter 5: Workplace Demoralized: Authoritarian Administration
Chapter 6: Workplace Depoliticized: Corruption and Bureaucracy
Chapter 7: Bureaucracy, Culture, and Workplace Democracy
After seven months of fieldwork at Chaoyang Elementary School, one of a myriad of rural schools in China, Dr. Wang Dan wrote an ethnography depicting teachers’ demoralization in terms of a prevailing sense of despair, cynicism, moral anxiety, concern over salary and general loss of professional dignity among rural teachers. She explored 'the structural mechanisms that have dampened these teachers’ passions, eroded their professional ethics, and finally demoralized and alienated them from their work'. The majority of literature on rural teachers focuses on teachers’ professionalization, resource shortages in terms of finance and availability of qualified teachers, and curriculum reform. Most research takes a single perspective rather than a multi dimensional approach. Dr. Wang, however, was ambitious enough to select an understudied but important topic and try to unearth the mechanisms causing teachers’ demoralization by looking at cultural, economic, and bureaucratic factors in the organizational and social context of their work. With a sound training in anthropology, Wang did her fieldwork carefully and tactically, displaying a passionate empathy with the teachers. The excellent quality of the narrative bought “the story” alive to this reader. For Western readers who may not be familiar with rural China, this book serves as an engaging introduction.The reader will clearly sense Wang’s passion for China’s rural education and her devotion to academic research.
— Frontiers of Education in China
This book constitutes one of few ethnographic studies of the professional lives of teachers in a Chinese rural school. With its detailed and honest descriptions of teachers’ experiences of frustration, disillusion, and corruption, but also friendship and hope, the book is recommended for anyone interested in a deeper understanding of the challenges facing contemporary schooling in rural China.
— Mette Halskov Hansen, University of Oslo
Dan Wang does what few social scientists do well: She takes us into another world and shows us what life is like there. The Demoralization of Teachers is a book that confronts the corruption, nepotism, and increasing inequalities that reach deep into the educational system of modern China. It proposes radical reforms to create a democratic workplace where teachers would have a say in choosing principals and in formulating policy, enabling them to speak out about corruption without fear of reprisal. Wang has written a courageous book that all teachers will applaud and which should help to bring those reforms about.
— Gerald Grant, Syracuse University
• Winner, 2014 Critics Choice Awards (American Educational Studies Association)