Double contradiction of schooling: class reproduction and working-class agency at vocational schools in China

Ngai Pun, Anita Koo

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Situating in the different social, political and cultural contexts of schooling in China, which is more embedded in mixed neoliberal value, authoritarian state control and collective morality, we use a somewhat different theoretical angle to understand the process of ‘learning to labour’ and the reproduction of working class at school and at work. Our study extends the horizon of Willis’ analysis of cultural reproduction at school by seriously analysing students’ work experiences through their internship at the site of production. Taking a sociological rather than cultural analysis approach, we re-conceptualize working-class agency embedded in a double contradiction of schooling as a site of contestation. This double contradiction is generated by conflicting experiences caused by inevitable conflicts among the three spheres of material production, social reproduction and cultural reproduction in educating ideal labour subjects to serve the state, market and family, providing fertile soil for re-negotiating working-class solidarity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)50-64
Number of pages15
JournalBritish Journal of Sociology of Education
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 16 Nov 2018


  • China
  • cultural reproduction
  • production
  • social reproduction
  • Vocational school
  • working-class culture

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Sociology and Political Science

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