Ethnic identity in school context: The case of Yi ethnic minority adolescents in rural China

Angel Hor Yan Lai, Cheryl Hui Kwan Chui, Carolina Hausmann-Stabile, Hong Yao, Jade Kin Yu Wong, Sun Di

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Using Yi adolescents in rural China (n = 163) as an example, this qualitative study explored how school ethnic socialization shaped the ethnic identity development and the future self of indigenous youths in mainstream Han-dominant school settings. Focus groups and thematic analysis were used. Six themes emerged, describing the participants' experiences of mainstream socialization, cultural socialization and multiculturalism within their school and how these practices shape their ethnic identity. Mainstream socialization also shaped their future aspirations by motivating them to utilize their education to contribute to the Yi community and to improve the status of Yi women. While mainstream socialization was seen as undesirable in current literature, our findings suggested that it facilitates ethnic identity development in indigenous adolescents by broadening their horizons to Han cultures if rural schools in China also practice cultural socialization concurrently.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)176-196
Number of pages21
JournalChildren and Society
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2024


  • adolescents
  • ethnic identity
  • indigenous ethnic minority
  • school

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Education
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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