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Who Speaks for China? (谁代表中国)

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Translating Geopolitics through Language Institutes in Costa Rica (从语言学校看哥斯达黎加的地缘政治)

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Drawing on ethnographic analysis of a Confucius Institute and two private schools, this article analyzes how diverse Chinese language institutes in Costa Rica have sought to capitalize on a growing local interest in learning Mandarin Chinese. It argues that a shifting global geopolitics has increased the perceived value of Chinese language acquisition and, thus, the stakes for language institutes seeking to assert their cultural authority as legitimate purveyors of Chinese and Chineseness. Through analysis of these schools’ projected identities and pedagogical styles, I show how they distinguish themselves from one another on the basis of public versus private ownership, choice-based versus authoritarian instructional style, and Taiwanese versus Mainland or diasporic roots. Building on the concept of the “Sinophone,” I highlight both the diversity of the forms and locations of Chineseness these initiatives represent and their implications for who can legitimately speak for China in Costa Rica.本文从民族志研究的角度考察了哥斯达黎加的一所孔子学院和两所私立学校,进而显示了不同的语言学校是如何应对和利用当地逐渐增强的中文学习的兴趣的。中国在全球地缘政治中的决定性地位提高了学习中文的重要性,而中文学校又是中国文化和“中国性”的正当提供者。因此,对文化权威的争夺对中文学校来说变得更加重要。通过分析当地三所中文学校对自身形象的定位以及教学理念的不同,本文指出,这些学校将自己与竞争者区分开来的标准主要来自三个方面:是公立学校还是私立学校,授课风格以学生为中心还是以老师讲课为主,是台湾机构还是中国大陆或华侨机构。在“华语语系”理论的基础上,这篇文章突显了不同语言机构所代表的“中国性”在形式与地理坐标上的多样性,以及这种多样性暗指的谁具有在哥斯达黎加代表中国的合法性。This article is in English.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Sociology and AnthropologyUniversity of Puget Sound mdehart@pugetsound.edux


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