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The Perception of China Using the Example of German Official Civic Education Publications a Comparative Study between1976and2005

Author: YueHanNeiSi
Tutor: LiZuo
School: Zhejiang University
Course: Chinese Studies
Keywords: A comparative study Words publication Pages Education Center German China Second civic word Scale value political official Illustration Keyword Trends country separate economic published
CLC: G353.1
Type: Master's thesis
Year: 2013
Downloads: 23
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Abstract


In this master thesis official publications on China released by the German governmental institution Bundeszentrale fiir politische Bildung1(Federal Agency for Civic Education) are analysed and compared. Its focus is the examination of the perception of China on the part of the publisher throughout the evaluation period (1976-2005). In view of the interdependency of both focus and accordingly perspective on the one hand and perception on the other, in this evaluation the emphasis is put on focuses in terms of the variety of subjects dealt with, as well as underlying perspectives in general. Both are the main criteria used in order to be able to draw conclusions on the perception of China and finally elaborate respective tendencies for the evaluation period.At first the publishing institution and its predecessors’roles in the course of history are introduced. Their relevance in Germany’s political setting is examined, so as to evaluate and answer the question crucial in regards to the title of this thesis-namely to what extent the publications by the Bundeszentrale fur politische Bildung may be considered to have an "official" character.The argumentation is based on the following four main arguments:The bpb is subordinated to the area of accountability of the German Federal Ministry of the Interior (Innenministerium) and hence an instrument of the German Federal Government.The bpb today is-just like all preceding institutions were back then-an intermediary of the respectively prevailing policy. This argument is derived from an examination both of the bpb’s and its preceding institutions’functions throughout the course of their existence. The six topical developmental steps (as defined by the bpb for the time after its re-establishment in1952) correspond partly peculiarly with political eras. For this purpose it was examined whether the bpb’s focusing has changed distinctly according to both the respective parties or governing coalitions in power and presiding over the German Federal Ministry of the Interior.Important issues as negotiated on the social stage-and likewise converted into political positions-find their way into the bpb’s orientation quickly. Two examples are provided for the latter argument: The renunciation of former Chancellor Adenauer’s strict West orientation at the end of the1960s and the adoption of the Beutelsbach Consensus in1976. In the second chapter the serial Informationen zur politischen Bildung2(Information on civic cducation)-which is the primary source for this evaluation and at the same time one of the bpb’s main publication series-is introduced. As first step general facts, such as target audience and focal points with regards to content are provided, before the special status of those issues of this serial merely on single countries is discussed. Then, the three publications dealing with China only (released in1976,1983and2005)3chosen for this examination are introduced and the metaphorical language of their front pages examined. Concluding this chapter-and in order to gain better understanding of the years of publication and their historical, political and economic circumstances-brief context information on the respective situation both in China and Germany is provided.In the absence of secondary literature, a basis for the comparative examination as executed in the main part of this thesis had to be developed. In the third chapter the chosen approach for the digital data processing and evaluation is described in detail. The total of the analysed data-as to be found in the appendix-is derived from two different approaches.In a first step the three IZPB issues were digitised with the help of OCR (Original Character Recognition) processing. Next, absolute (pages and word count) and percentage values (proportional to the total word count/number of pages) of all (sub-)chapters have been calculated. Based on the data collected, an overview contrasting all (sub-)chapters of the three IZPB issues including respective numbers was created for reasons of better comparability (see appendix ⅱ, p.Ⅳ ff.).For the purpose of gaining a second base of operation, in a second step129country-specific and/or otherwise relevant key words have been defined and their rank and frequency within each IZPB issue determined for further analysis by means of concordance software processing. The respective results are displayed in a separate table (see appendix ⅲ, p. Ⅷ ff.). They are consulted subsequently to additionally make proof of some of the hypotheses elaborated in this thesis and allow to read tendencies in regards to focal points within the publication period in general.The fourth chapter both discusses the formal composition of the three IZPB issues and-as remarkable in the case of the first two issues only-examines three references hinting at underlying perspectives that allow to draw conclusions on the perception of China at that time: Both IZPB1976and IZPB1983contain teaching units whose altered focusing suggests a changing perspective on the part of the publisher. Besides, both issues are based on the Marxist Base and Superstructure Scheme. Its utilization of all schemes by a governmental institution from a liberal social-democratic constitutional state from the Western and capitalist hemisphere is discussed subsequently. As about two thirds of the content part of both of IZPB1976and IZPB1983are based on an approach by the British historian Arnold J. Toynbee (1889-1975), his most striking conclusions-on what was his conception of the Chinese civilization-have to be discussed in detail in order to reveal the self-righteous perspective and depreciatory attitude towards China that-intentionally or not-has been utilized on the part of the bpb back then.Concluding this chapter, a comparison is drawn with the latest issue where there is no apparent underlying approach and which features an entirely different focus in regards to content as well as it attests a totally altered perception of China which may be characterized by both fascination and a certain portfolio of reservations at the same time.The fifth chapter deals with the separate section containing maps, charts and diagrams available in the middle of all three IZPB issues. Additionally a concise list of all topics dealt with in this inlay is provided (see appendix i, p. I ff.). As discussed in this chapter, mainly three points to be read from this section shed light on the perception of China throughout the publication period:First, an uncertain level of information as attested at least in the respective inlay of IZPB1976argues that China must have been perceived as something quite unseizable and therefore regarded upon as hard to classify. Secondly, the growing diversification of country groups might hint at the perception of China within a more differentiated context and indicate the development of a more sophisticated appreciation of China and its unique status on the part of the bpb. Thirdly, the continuously decreasing number of pages throughout the publication period is attended by an increasing presence orientation in regards to the topics dealt with.Finally, the sixth chapter places particular emphasis on a quantitative contrastive evaluation of the content. Incipiently a comparison of the content part of the three IZPB issues shows an increase with regards to content of61.2%(corresponding to the word count) and accordingly97.1%(corresponding to the total number of pages) throughout the evaluation period. The following causes have been evaluated that might account for this tendency:a better level of information, a growing interest in China and China’s growing importance for Germany in various respects. The further evaluation centres on a contrastive content evaluation of the first two IZPB issues first. Their basic structure is identical but the sub-chapters of four out of the seven main chapters have partly been significantly modified in IZPB1983. Apart from the quantitative findings, elaborating which chapters have been enlarged at the expense of others leads to the following conclusions:Chapter Ⅲ attests a first insinuation of a transition from a static towards a more dynamic perception of China’s politico-economic transformation.The inclusion of most recent developments is shown on the basis of chapter IV using two examples: first, instead of emphasising distinctions to Stalinist and Leninist influences, in IPZB1983the focus is on Mao Zedong thought, and secondly, the reflection of the consequences of the Cultural Revolution by replacing the chapter on the Impact of the Chinese tradition in IZPB1976with a description of The new concept of socialism in IZPB1983.The examination of chapter V hints at a first turning away from the one-party-system as the one and only pattern of explanation.Finally, with the help of chapter Ⅶ the emergence of an independent perspective on the part of the bpb is attested by the fact that the Chinese Three Worlds Theory is replaced with a self-contained analysis of China’s socialist and national goals and respective strategies.The concluding comparison of IZPB2005with its predecessors mainly reveals an ambivalent and conditional admiration of China in the so far last issue-amazement due to various superlatives and scepticism towards their shady side. In order to further substantiate the latter assumption a key word analysis is carried out in this chapter. Three word groups with ambivalent or negative connotations are examined according to their appearance throughout the publication period. Confirming the hypothesis, a continuous increase can be attested in the one case, while the other two key word groups don’t appear at all before IZPB1983and respectively IZPB2005.Concluding both this chapter and the thesis, seven superior topics were defined before assigning all (sub-)chapters of the three IZPB issues to one of them. Next, the respective percentage values (according to the word count as calculated before) were summed up in order to determine the superior topics’distribution throughout the whole evaluation period. The following conclusions can be drawn according to Chart3(see p.26):First, apart from the separate inlay section the focusing on China’s geography is continuously diminishing and has completely vanished in IZPB2005. Secondly, the focus on China’s history has been eclipsed continuously throughout the publication period by nearly two thirds which argues in favour of a crucial interest in present-day China’s peculiarities at the expense of its historic heritage.Thirdly, without regard to the astonishing peak in IZPB1983that might reflect the aftermath of the Cultural Revolution amongst others, in IZPB2005politics as focal point has paled in comparison to IZPB1983.Fourthly, after a significant decline from IZPB1976to IZPB1983, a growing interest in China’s economy is to be witnessed by the last IZPB issue.Fifthly, a tremendously increased interest in the manifold Chinese society has to be stated for IZPB2005, while formerly it was mainly referred to a more or less uniform population in terms of demographic numbers, development etc.Sixthly, another significant increase was recorded for the topic education, showing that nowadays the bpb pursues China’s efforts in the context of education but also research with great interest. Seventh, the comparatively second biggest growing focal area within the examination period is the one on culture.Eighth, after a minor decline from IZPB1976to IZPB1983the publishing institution attracts increased notice to the topic foreign affairs in IZPB2005.

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CLC: > Culture, science,education, sports > Science,scientific research > Information science, intelligence > The processing of intelligence information > Intelligence data analysis and research
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