Since the comprehensive implementation of the market-oriented reform, China’s economic system has dramatically transformed, and its social structure has undergone similar transformation. Undoubtedly, social stratification is becoming one of the most striking phenomena in the transformation. Meanwhile, the Chinese higher education policy has also changed, turning from elite education to mass education and turning the university students from the “God’s favored ones” into “Post-elitists.” As a consequence, Chinese university students are destined to be the group that has complex and special feelings about the social stratification: as ordinary members of the community, they are inevitably affected by the macro-trend of social stratification; as a particular group which is impacted by the policies of higher education, they follow the same fickle wheel of fortune. The survey on university students in Guangzhou shows: firstly, they generally think that the inequality among social strata is severe; secondly, they also generally think that compared with the times before the market-oriented reform, the "upward mobility" channel in the society is narrowed down, and family background and resources are playing a great role in individuals’ development; thirdly, most of them assert that the current policy of university students' autonomous (or “two-way choice”) employment is a responsibility-avoidance policy of the government, which fails to help the students from impoverished families, and that the government has done little in advocating and maintaining equality in employment. The conclusion of this survey indicates that university students tend to think that social stratification has already been structuralized. Their available social opportunities are decreasing, while the social mobility bears a “reproduction” imprint. Although attitudes vary among students from different socio-economic backgrounds, there is high homogeneity in the group perception from a social statistical perspective. The discussion of social stratification or social structure at the level of subjective perception is an important perspective of research which is often overlooked in the domestic academia. The subjects of this study are university students. Their views on social stratification, on opportunities of social mobility and on government policies are expected to enrich the research in this field. The practical significance of this study is that it reminds us that, because of the rapid changes in economy and society, university students’ psychological counseling should become a critical issue in higher education. More targeted psychological counseling should be given to those university students who are pessimistic about social opportunities and social mobility. These students are usually from non-key universities and their parents belong to the lower social strata. It is also necessary to examine the current policy of enrollment expansion in universities and the employment problems of university graduates.
[J]. 浙江大学学报(人文社会科学版), 2013, 43(4): 182-195.
Huang Genghua Mok Ka-ho. University Students' Perception on Social Stratification and Social Opportunities：A Post-Elitist Perspective. , 2013, 43(4): 182-195.