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Creativity ClassArt School and Culture Work in Postsocialist China$
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Lily Chumley

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780691164977

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691164977.001.0001

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Art Test Fever

Art Test Fever

(p.60) 3 Art Test Fever
Creativity Class

Lily Chumley

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines the art test preparation classes that are widely blamed for overproducing the wrong kinds of subjects, with neither creativity nor style, making students who are “blind” and “aimless” (mangmu, mangran). It describes the expansion and standardization of the art test system over the thirty years of reform as a result of tensions between families, profit-motivated test prep industries, and public institutions, showing the limits of education policies and ideologies of creativity in the complex social world of postsocialist China. The chapter also describes the fundamental tension between the values reproduced in the examination system—skills of memorization and reproduction, habitus of diligence and obedience—and the values of the family and its exchange networks, which emphasize personal ties and social graces.

Keywords:   art test, art test preparation classes, art test system, education policies, family values, postsocialist China

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