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Mainland Chinese students at an elite Hong Kong university : habitus–field disjuncture in a transborder context.

Xu, Cora Lingling (2017) 'Mainland Chinese students at an elite Hong Kong university : habitus–field disjuncture in a transborder context.', British journal of sociology of education., 38 (5). pp. 610-624.


Drawing on in-depth interview data from 31 mainland Chinese (MLC) students in a Hong Kong university, this article conceptualises MLC and Hong Kong higher education as two dissonant but interrelated subfields of the Chinese higher education field. The article argues that these MLC students’ habitus, one that possesses rich economic, social and cultural capital, prompts a strong sense of entitlement to anticipated privileges. However, this sense of entitlement is disrupted by the differential capital valuations across these fields. There is thus notable habitus–field disjuncture, which, exacerbated by the hysteresis effect, gives rise to a sense of disappointment and ambivalence. This article demonstrates how the Hong Kong education credential, which these students initially set out to pursue as a form of capital, can become a disadvantage at multiple levels; the article illustrates that capital valuation and conversion in a transborder context is not a straightforward, but rather a complicated and sometimes contradictory, process.

Item Type:Article
Full text:(AM) Accepted Manuscript
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Publisher statement:This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in British journal of sociology of education on 6 April 2016 available online:
Date accepted:11 February 2016
Date deposited:27 August 2020
Date of first online publication:07 April 2016
Date first made open access:27 August 2020

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