An Ethnographic Study on the Non-Material Impacts of the Educated Youth Program


  • Chloe Yim Independence High School
  • Kathryn Upton Mentor, Independence High School



Educated Youth Program, Chinese Cultural Revolution


In a movement that led to over a million civilian deaths and the persecution of millions more, the Chinese Cultural Revolution mobilized all aspects of state in order to upheave traditional hierarchy and maintain a Maoist regime. During this time, under the Educated Youth Program, nearly 17 million students of varying societal backgrounds moved to rural locations to develop “proper” values and skills. Through a qualitative ethnographic case study, twelve narrative interviews conducted with participants of the program, representing multiple regions in China, were examined under the principles of thematic analysis in order to discover overarching themes about the immaterial impacts that occurred as a result of this wide-scale emigration and whether these changes were positive or negative. Data indicated that (1) because of the rural environment and hard-working people around them, many participants gained perseverance, and (2) increased interactions with those of ethnic and economic different backgrounds led to greater acceptance of others. The findings of the study suggest that the Educated Youth Program was ultimately beneficial for its participants in regards to their overall life. These results help build a more comprehensive understanding about the impacts of rural education in China through the direct incorporation of participants’ perspectives.


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Author Biography

Kathryn Upton, Mentor, Independence High School

AP Research Teacher

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How to Cite

Yim, C., & Upton, K. (2021). An Ethnographic Study on the Non-Material Impacts of the Educated Youth Program . Journal of Student Research, 10(4).



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