Chinese ethnic cultural expression in national music textbooks
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The People’s Republic of China (PRC) is comprised of fifty-six ethnic groups that inherent diverse cultural traditions. The largest of these ethnic groups is the 汉［Han］and the remaining fifty-five ethnic groups are given the name 少数民族, [ethnic minority]. The Communist government describes China as a unified multinational country. On the one hand, Chinese scholars and national policies advocate presentation of cultural diversity in China’s education system; on the other hand, they emphasized that diverse ethnic minorities contribute to a single united Chinese nationality as a whole, which is given the term Chinese nationality--中华民族. The purpose of this study is to examine the K1–9 music textbooks—a series of texts titled simply 音乐 [Music]—designed by the Curricula and Textbooks Designing Centre at the Ministry of Education of the PRC. The study aims to understand how China’s government and scholars frequently represent China’s ethnic musical traditions by these widely used music textbooks in the mainland of the PRC. This central issues are addressed by the research question include: 1. How are ethnic musical traditions introduced to students in the textbooks? 2. How are musical and cultural differences between ethnic minorities and Han-Chinese represented in the textbooks? 3. Whose cultural values and ideologies are signified in the selected ethnic musical materials and subjects of the textbooks? This study applies the methodology of document analysis; research findings are discussed based on relevant theories of liberalism along with authenticity in cultural representation. The study concludes that Communist China is very concerned by ethnic separatism so that Chinese nationality (as a whole) and political unity of the country is enforced in education. The curriculum reflects the core value of socialism and patriotism. The ethnic music materials represented in those nationally used, government-designed textbooks enhance ethnic integration and cultural unity of the Chinese nationality as a whole. As a result, the textbook contents mostly reflect values of moral education emphasized in many national education policies, which address patriotism and national unity rather than authentically present ethnic music and cultures.
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