Does Higher Education Have a Civic Bonus? Exploring the Role of Higher Education in the Formation of Social Attitudes in Contemporary China

Ye Liu, Wenqin Shen


This research explores how higher education shapes youth’s social attitudes in terms of gender equality, homosexuality and the urban underclass in contemporary China. We draw upon empirical evidence from in-depth individual interviews involving 68 students. Our findings highlight different patterns of acceptance, utilisation or rejection of knowledge to inform their social attitudes. The students further demonstrate varying levels of positional attitudes according to their socioeconomic and demographic characteristics. Moreover, the state and its command over quality citizenship and ideology education play an important role in shaping social attitudes. Our findings also highlight toxic consequences of rural-urban inequality on social attitudes.


Higher Education, China, social attitudes, youth, tolerance, gender, migrant underclass, homosexuality

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