wenhua shuiping

wenhua shuiping
(cultural level)
Social concept
This phrase is most commonly used to refer to a person’s level of formal education. A person’s level is considered high if he or she went to college and low if he or she only finished grade school. Although the formal translation refers to one’s years of schooling, the term also has a wider social usage that refers to elocution, etiquette, self-presentation and family background. For instance, employers of college graduates and others with post-secondary education or special skills often use the term to refer to an employee’s potential to make money for a corporation, their ability to make important connections in industry and government, and their skills at self-presentation in an increasingly professionalized work environment. As such, the phrase is similar to how the terms suzhi (quality) and wenming (civilized) are used to distinguish between people and to suggest social classes.
Glorification of the term wenhua (culture) in the post-Mao era must be seen in contrast to the way wenhua and those identified with it (i.e. intellectuals; see intellectuals and academics) were castigated during the Cultural Revolution. The popular and official reappraisal of the role of culture and quality in national development means that those with educational credentials may be identified as valuable sources of modernizing strength. In the post-Mao era, wenhua has been transformed to fit the needs of contemporary modernization, so that now people believe it is reasonable and legitimate for someone with a high cultural level to get ahead.

Encyclopedia of contemporary Chinese culture. . 2011.

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