Research Uyghur Papers

Being Uyghur or Being Muslim? Identity Construction of Tertiary-Level Uyghur Students in China

Author: Mingyue Gu and Xiaoyan Guo, Chinese University of Hong Khang

Source: Muslim Students, Education and Neoliberalism (Link:


This study explores identity construction and multilingual practices of a group of tertiary-level Uyghur students in China within their intra-national migration. Interviews and observations were conducted in three rounds of fieldwork. Findings indicate that participants experienced multiple marginalizations constituted by linguistic practices underpinned by the infiltration of neo-liberal values and practices into the spheres of education and of social reality. Participants struggled over the (re)ethnicization process and contested their disadvantageous social positions by capitalizing on a repertoire of linguistic and cultural resources. Moreover, they tried to negotiate an educated Uyghur elite identity by marking boundaries between themselves and Uyghur counterparts in less prestigious institutions. In spite of this, the minority elites faced potential challenges when translating symbolic resources into economic capital in the neo-liberal economy.

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