Alternative Perspective: Educational research in China and Chinese community in Australia

Year: 2012

Author: Chan, Philip Wing Keung, Zhang, Hongzi, Wang, Yujia, Yang, Cunzhen

Type of paper: Abstract refereed


It is an indisputable fact that the western academic discourses play a dominant role in the research of social science. It is a common phenomenon that most researchers outside the Western culture usually utilize western concepts and theories to interpret the socio-political issues in local contexts.  "Many people in Asian societies still have the deep-rooted mind-set of looking to the West and the often unconscious desire to emulate the West in all pursuits including knowledge production and the seeking of "modernity" (Lin, 2012, p. 158). Randomly open a textbook of social science, you will possibly find out that the core concepts they use, the theoretical frameworks they construct, the methodology they choose and even the strategies they analyse their data cannot escape the influence of western academic discourse. Chen (2010) believes critical studies of experiences in Asia might be able to offer a new view of global history. He suggests using 'Asia as method' to rethink the process of knowledge production in social culture research. In this paper, the conception of "Asia as method" has been developed in the beginning. Then this paper goes deep into the practical operational level to show the explanatory power of Asia as method through three different research cases in the field of education. The paper concludes that although Asia study has a long history in the research of social culture, it is still a new terrain in the research of education, which needs more and more educational researchers involvement in the discussion on this issue.