Is the gaokao an engine for social mobility in China? Despite extensive studies on higher education expansion and social mobility in China, limited research has adopted a qualitative longitudinal approach to trace the travels from social origin to destinations via higher education. Using longitudinal interviews with individual research participants, 14 years apart from their university to labour market transitions, this study argues social mobility is highly complex and should be examined from the lens of individual agency and positionality. Findings reveal the limitations of quantitative approaches in explaining absolute and relative social mobility. A qualitative longitudinal approach offers an opportunity for scholars to examine the complexity of social mobility across socioeconomic and geographical hierarchies as well as assess the effect of higher education on different life trajectories in the context of China.
|Journal||Journal of China-ASEAN Studies|
|Publication status||Accepted/In press - 27 Nov 2022|