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Title:Chinese student-athlete? A socio-cultural examination of education for elite Chinese athletes
Author(s):Haugen, Matthew Bryan
Director of Research:Sydnor, Synthia
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Sydnor, Synthia
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Brownell, Susan; Welty Peachey, Jon; Zhu, Weimo; Denzin, Norman
Department / Program:Kinesiology & Community Health
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Sport Development
Sport Governance
Policy Transfer
Abstract:Market reforms in China are generating new initiatives in the sports industry, which has opened this sector to innovative development programs that correspond to citizens’ changing needs. This dissertation is based on my doctoral studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and on research conducted while I was a Fulbright scholar in China from August 2017 through November 2018, as well as six years of living and working in China as coach and consultant. The project uses archival, policy, ethnographic, and interview data to study Chinese athletes, their formal education, and athletic training in the context of the neoliberal and transnational reforms occurring within China’s sports industry. I read Chinese government policy documents in the original Mandarin Chinese and conducted interviews in Mandarin. Many of China’s elite athletes devote a substantial amount of time toward their athletic training, which hinders their ability to obtain a quality formal education. Since there is often an educational gap for athletes, the central questions studied concern the cultural values and attitudes that Chinese citizens associate with combining athletic and academic education. Are those involved in China’s sports industry adopting the notion of the student-athlete? If so, what are the causes and consequences of this shift? What role does the US model of student-athlete play in developing initiative programming within the Chinese sports industry? These are the main questions pursued within. I asked stakeholders involved in the athletic industry--Chinese officials, parents, coaches, athletes, and practitioners-- to provide feedback on their values and perceived societal changes associated with combining an athletic and academic education. This study will provide a comprehensive understanding of the history, politics, and socio-cultural nuances that create obstacles in China’s attempt to combine sport and education. Based on my research and experience in China, as well as critiques and ideas associated with neoliberalism and sports development, I make suggestions throughout the dissertation regarding new and future models and reforms for Chinese student-athletes. The investigation will generate a cross-cultural exchange between the US and China of best practices in the academic schooling of aspiring athletes and identify developmental models that can assist Chinese athletes in studying academic, technical, or professional subjects at the same time that they are engaged in sports training.
Issue Date:2021-03-30
Rights Information:Copyright 2021 Matthew Haugen
Date Available in IDEALS:2021-09-17
Date Deposited:2021-05

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