Global informal learning environments and the making of Chinese middle class

Jan Blommaert, Kathy Dong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


This paper engages with the ways in which formal learning environments increasingly have to compete with informal ones, where such informal learning environments can be seen as penetrations from global 'scapes' into local conditions of circulation and uptake of semiotic resources. The study is based on close observation of a group of upwardly mobile Chinese consumers who have access to informal learning environments and acquire discourses to express their tastes in cultural goods. As effects of their access to the informal learning environments, the informants expand their identity repertoires and bind one space to another through their sociocultural practices. Such identity effects are the outcome of scaled forms of access to globally circulating semiotic resources whose indexical value needs to be enacted, renegotiated, and learned. In explaining the rescaling of the informants, access to informal global learning environments is as important as their access to advanced formal education, and the combination of such scaled resources informs their emergence as a globally recognizable middle class. (C) 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-46
Number of pages14
JournalLinguistics & Education
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2016


  • Elite migrant network
  • Informal learning
  • Middle class identity
  • Scaled mobility
  • Virtual ethnography
  • China
  • Migrant identity
  • Construction
  • Language
  • Transformation
  • Networks
  • Students
  • Scale
  • Space
  • Elite
  • Power


Dive into the research topics of 'Global informal learning environments and the making of Chinese middle class'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this