Tao Xingzhi’s Non-Communist Mass Education Movements in 1930s China
Qian Zhu

This paper attempts to reveal both the historical and the historiographical significances of a non-Communist mass education movement by challenging the existent scholarships in studying Tao Xingzhi’s educational theory and practices in 1930s China. My research indicates that the emergence and the development of Tao’s “Life Education” theory was the immediate response to the interwar history as it was shown in everyday life that had been changed under global capitalism, imperialism, and war. As it was closely engaged with the issues of inequality, exploitation, and human emancipation, Tao’s theory founded upon searching for solutions to the current structural crises in Chinese society and the world. Specifically, it dealt with how to transform the social hierarchy that had been reflected in the existent educational system. Therefore, Tao’s educational theory should be seen as one of the various political efforts during the interwar period that simultaneously perceived education as the effective means to transform society anew, which corresponded to the ongoing socio-political changes in the interwar period. To synchronize Tao’s educational theory with other educational ideas, I aim to challenge the arbitrary relationship between the West teaching and the East learning and the state/the powerful vs. the society/the powerless relationship that was presumed by the aforementioned approach. Indeed, Tao’s contribution to China’s educational modernization could not be seen as a failed resistance to state-institutional politics, rather it must be examined historically as a leftwing intellectual consideration of the present and longing for a future of social equality, which contrasts with the Chinese Communist Party’s mass education movement oriented by the Marxist class categories and class struggle.

Full Text: PDF     DOI: 10.15640/rhps.v3n1a3