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Producing the Morally Captive Guest: Discourse and Power in Gratitude Education of Migrant Children in Beijing

  • Miao Li (a1) and Yihan Xiong (a2)


To promote a prosocial conscience and behaviour, gratitude education has long been perceived as an effective intervention in formal schooling. Built upon the Foucauldian account of the mutually constitutive relationship between knowledge and power, this paper investigates how an urban school for largely poor and low-income children of migrant workers in Beijing constructed and transmitted knowledge and discourses on gratitude. The authors argue that the students are positioned as what we term “morally captive guests”1 who possess an inferior position in the moral life compared to urbanites, and who are perceived as an instrument for attracting resources and attention to the lower-ranked school. This schooling reproduces extant class relations, whereas the student resistance questions practices of graduating citizenship and educational inequalities.

为激发亲社会意识与行为, 感恩教育一直被视为一项富有成效的教育干预策略。基于福柯对知识与权力互构关系的分析, 本文考察北京市一所以农民工随迁子女为主要生源的公立学校建构和传递感恩教育知识和话语的动态过程。作者认为,随迁子女们被学校教育界定为道德 “受困者”, 他们在道德生活中占据着较城市户籍人口劣势的地位, 并且被学校当作吸引资源与社会关注的工具。这种学校教育再生产了现有的社会阶层关系, 然而, 随迁子女对学校教育的抵制诘问着差异化的公民权和教育不平等现象的日常实践。


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