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Title: Chinese daughters negotiating contemporary norms and traditional filial obligation
Author: O'Neill, Patricia
ISNI:       0000 0004 5354 3068
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2015
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In the past, Chinese normative values deprived daughters of education, choice and autonomy, relegating them to a dependent domestic role within a rigid family hierarchy. This is no longer the norm. Today, Chinese daughters are widely educated and many are working outside the home, becoming financial assets to their families. Despite this, gendered expectations concerning filial obligation have not abated, and perhaps surprisingly given their modern lifestyles and financial contributions, Chinese daughters continue to accept this responsibility, including caregiving for ageing parents. The aim of this thesis is to explore the nature of the current caregiving paradigm between Chinese daughters, their parents and parents-in-law. It seeks to understand why Chinese daughters continue to undertake filial obligation when they are no longer dependent on the family; how they manage the practical discharge of filial obligation; and the ways in which traditional filial obligation have shifted. In furtherance of this exploration, in 2011 and 2012, 58 Chinese women and 6 Filipina domestic helpers were interviewed in Hong Kong and Singapore. Thematic analysis was performed on the transcribed data. Symbolic interactionism, caregiving motivation models, and Hochschild's (1983) theory of emotion management provided the conceptual and theoretical framework for the research. Drawing from the data, a support and care typology was developed reflecting the varying levels of daughters' filial support and their motivations for providing this support. Among these respondents, the core belief in "duty" has not fundamentally changed from that of their parents' generation. However, feelings of affection and gratitude, the strength of traditional or contemporary norms, and one’s self-image together with emotion work, moderated the duration and quality of care daughters were willing to provide. These factors may also determine whether caregiving is outsourced to foreign domestic helpers, or whether parents and in-laws are placed in nursing homes, and the nature of care provided thereafter.
Supervisor: Harper, Sarah Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Gerontology ; Emotion research ; Demography and population ageing ; Families ; Gender ; Intergenerational relationships ; Emotion work