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Title: Shifting traditions of childrearing in China : narratives from three generations of women
Author: Guo, X.
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2018
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This thesis sets out to study three generations of Chinese mothers’ experiences in childrearing. A feminist position is taken when studying mothering experiences which emphasises that gender is not immutable and that motherhood is not isolated from other social domains. Three aspects of these mothers’ lives were investigated: women’s growing-up experiences; mothering experiences in combination of women’s other roles and practices; and intergenerational transmission between mothers and daughters. A historical and intergenerational design with case study approach was adopted. Twelve families from varied social-economic background that have three generations of women (36 women in total) were studied from one middle size inland city in China (Bengbu). The biographical-narrative interview method was employed, providing maximum autonomy to the women to recount their lives in their own ways. The researcher’s role has been to imaginatively interpret the women’s accounts in relation to the times to which they refer (current and past time) and to seek to understand their lived lives and told stories in relation to two types of time: their biographical time and the historical time they lived in. Significant changes in mothers’ experiences were found across the three generations, reflecting the ideological shifts in motherhood over this period. Differences within the same generation which reflect the impact of women’s biographical trajectories are also discussed: the way they were mothered, the particular intergenerational relationship they had and the transmission process they were involved in. However, the continuities were also addressed, highlighting the gendered and devalued roles in childcare across three generations. This reflects the complex dynamic relationship between women’s agency and the social structure. Specific policy recommendations are made based on these findings. My own biogeographical stories were also presented to reflect my particular view on mothering and how my attitudes (un)changed alongside this PhD project.
Supervisor: Brannen, J. ; Rebecca, O. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available