Between the Folds: Reconceptualizing the Current State of Early Childhood Technology Development in China

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Early Childhood (EC), technology, policy, sociocultural influences, China


Rapid development and expansion of technology has created massive shifts in people’s lives around the globe. China’s focus on transforming the nation into a global leader in technology has resulted in the proliferation of policies, which are typically interpreted as part of the Western neoliberal economic expansion and imperialism. However, in this article, we contest what we claim to ‘know’ about technology or technicity (the condition of being technological beings) both locally and globally within the context of early childhood technology development in China. Chinese philosopher Yuk Hui (2016) introduces the provocation that China’s history of technics is grounded in Confucian thinking rather than arising from the Greeks, countering the universal assumption that all cultures trace their technological thoughts to Prometheanism. The art of Chinese paper-folding known as Zhezhi is adopted as a metaphor to reconceptualize recent Chinese technology policies and practices in early childhood education as we conceptually bridge traditional and postmodern discourse. We examine the folds to reveal tensions in Chinese approaches to technology integration situated within economic, political, and socio-cultural contexts, and further explore how these elements exist in concert with one another.

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Educational Philosophy and Theory, in press

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