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Liu, Jieyu (2021) 'Aging and Intergenerational Ambivalence in China: An Urban–Rural Comparison’.' In: Silverstein, Merril, (ed.), Aging Families in Chinese Society. New York: Routledge, pp. 151-168. (Society and Aging Series)

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Intergenerational relations are adapting to changing socio-economic conditions in China. Rather being lodged in a dichotomy between solidarity and conflict, this chapter reveals the emergence of ambivalence in changing intergenerational ties. Through an analysis of life history interviews collected with two generations of participants in both urban and rural China, this chapter reveals that while filial piety determines children’s responsibility for parents’ old age support, Chinese parents exhibit ambivalence toward their children’s role in their older life plans, which in turn indirectly offers a glimpse into their ambivalent feelings towards their children. Further, the long institutionalized urban-rural divide and the associated dual welfare regime play a key role in accounting for the different contours of ambivalence in urban and rural households. The cultural configuration around filial piety in relation to gender also contribute to the different patterns of ambivalence. Due to differing implementation of the one child policy in urban and rural China, there is no difference in urban parents’ old age expectations of sons or daughters while the overwhelming emphasis of old age planning among rural parents is still centered around sons. Methodologically, this chapter also throws new light upon the ways in which ambivalence could be explored in the Chinese cultural context.

Item Type: Book Chapters
Keywords: intergenerational ambivalence, China, urban, rural, generation, gender
SOAS Departments & Centres: Regional Centres and Institutes > SOAS China Institute
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Women
H Social Sciences
ISBN: 9780367858896
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 01 Aug 2022 15:57
Funders: European Union

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