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Liu, Jieyu and Cook, Joanne (2020) 'Ageing and intergenerational care in rural China: a qualitative study of policy development.' Contemporary Social Science, 15 (3). pp. 378-391.

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The large-scale migration of younger workers from rural to urban China since the 1990s has separated many adult children from their ageing parents, thereby challenging traditional patterns of familial support in rural villages. Existing studies on ageing in rural China examining the familial support system show that families remain the main focus of support despite geographical separation. Less work has been done to capture the effects of recent changes in Chinese social policies for rural villages, including state pension provision and medical care, and the interaction between the familial support system and other sectors. Drawing on data from an ethnographic study of a rural village, this article adopts a ‘bottom-up’ approach to examine the implications of Chinese policy development for the provision of different types of old-age support. The findings suggest that current welfare provision in rural China is deeply embedded in a familial ideology with market, state and community sectors, indirectly or directly, relying on the family sector. Rather than being located in a dichotomised debate between familialisation and defamilialisation, this article reveals that villagers’ preferences are situated along a spectrum between familialisation and defamilialisation, shaped by local socio-cultural economic circumstances and different types of old-age support.

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: super ageing, rural China, state support, gender and ageing, family interdependence
SOAS Departments & Centres: Regional Centres and Institutes > SOAS China Institute
ISSN: 21582041
Copyright Statement: © 2018 Academy of Social Sciences. This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Contemporary Social Science on 15 March 2018, available online:
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 05 Mar 2019 11:16
Funders: Economic and Social Research Council

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