Coming home: a study of values change among Chinese postgraduates and visiting scholars who encountered Christianity in the U.K.

Dickson, Deborah (2013) Coming home: a study of values change among Chinese postgraduates and visiting scholars who encountered Christianity in the U.K. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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This thesis examines changes in core values held by postgraduate students and visiting scholars from China who professed belief in Christianity while studying in UK universities. It is the first study to ascertain whether changes remain after return to China. Employing a theoretical framework constructed from work by James Fowler, Charles Taylor, Yuting Wang and Fenggang Yang, it identifies both factors contributing to initial change in the UK and factors contributing to sustained change after return to China. It shows that lasting values change occurred. As a consequence, tensions were experienced at work, socially and in church. However, these were outweighed by benefits, including inner security, particularly after a distressed childhood. Benefits were also experienced in personal relationships and in belonging in a new community, the Church.

This was a qualitative, interpretive study employing ethnographic interviews with nineteen people, from eleven British universities, in seven Chinese cities. It was based on the hypotheses that Christian conversion leads to change in values and that evidence for values can be found in responses to major decisions and dilemmas, in saddest and happiest memories and in relationships. Conducted against a backdrop of transnational movement of people and ideas, including a recent increase in mainland Chinese studying abroad which has led to more Chinese in British churches, it contributes new insights into both the contents of sustained Christian conversion amongst Chinese abroad who have since returned to China and factors contributing to it. Bringing the afore-mentioned theories together for the first time it provides an illuminating, original lens for further study of conversion amongst returned Chinese. It also adds to knowledge of the effects of Chinese students’ UK education experience on their values.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Morgan, W.J.
Gu, Q.
Keywords: Values, Conversion, Christian, Chinese Students, Change
Subjects: L Education > LC Special aspects of education
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BV Practical theology
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Social Sciences, Law and Education > School of Education
Item ID: 13458
Depositing User: EP, Services
Date Deposited: 10 Oct 2013 13:18
Last Modified: 14 Oct 2017 19:52

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