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The Ecology of Chinese Academia: A Third-Eye Perspective

  • Jinba Tenzin (a1)

While Chinese academic excellence is gaining increasing international recognition, plagiarism, corruption, nepotism and other negative practices are reportedly rampant in academia in China. Many point the finger at fundamental flaws within the tizhi, the highly structured Chinese socio-political system. I propose re-examining Chinese academia and its practices by applying and expanding Pierre Bourdieu's notion of field as this framework helps to identify the predicament of the “deep water” in which Chinese scholars and institutes find themselves. The four fields I outline – ideological, quasi-official, fame–profit and guanxi fields – spotlight academic practices with “Chinese characteristics.” I elaborate on my own experiences and reflections as both an insider and outsider to these practices, a position which I refer to as a third-eye perspective. I argue that despite the constraints of the “deep water,” the field-oriented angle of investigation reveals that the depths and types of “deep water” vary from one institute to another and also that the internally generated ongoing initiatives promise a step-by-step transformation in Chinese academia. To provoke further thought, I contend that the Chinese case is both a non-exception and alternative to the Western (and other) practices. In so doing, I call for a balanced perspective to re-examine Chinese academic ecology.

随着中国学术界的研究水平在世界范围内逐渐获得更大认可的同时, 据报道剽窃、腐败、裙带关系以及其它消极学术实践亦不乏见。许多人均将这种现象归结于高度结构化的政治社会体制。本文将使用并延伸布迪厄有关 “场域” 的观点来重新审视中国学术界及其实践, 笔者认为这个理论构架有助于更好地理解学者和学术机构陷于 “深水” 之中的困境。本人将中国学术界具体划分为意识形态场、准官场、名利场和关系场等四大场域来剖析具有 “中国特色” 的学术实践。此项研究是着眼于对本人 “局内人” 和 “局外人” 双重身份的反思, 这便是本文所称的 “第三只眼” 的视角。笔者认为固然 “深水” 造成了种种限制, 但是 “场域” 的审视角度却揭示出不同的机构陷于 “深水” 的程度和类型都是不尽相同的。此外, 这种分析框架还可以展现出中国学术界内部持续衍生的动力促成其总体环境实现积极转变的前景。最后, 本文提出同西方和其它地区相比当前的中国学术实践既可以算作特例也同样可以当成一个通例来看待。由此, 笔者提倡一种平衡的视角来重新认识中国学术生态。

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