Chinese Families Upside Down: Intergenerational Dynamics and Neo-Familism in the Early 21st Century


Volume Editor: Yunxiang Yan
Chinese Families Upside Down offers the first systematic account of how intergenerational dependence is redefining the Chinese family. The authors make a collective effort to go beyond the conventional model of filial piety to explore the rich, nuanced, and often unexpected new intergenerational dynamics. Supported by ethnographic findings from the latest field research, novel interpretations of neo-familism address critical issues from fresh perspectives, such as the ambivalence in grandparenting, the conflicts between individual and family interests, the remaking of the moral self in the face of family crises, and the decisive influence of the Chinese state on family change. The book is an essential read for scholars and students of China studies in particular and for those who are interested in the present-day family and kinship in general.

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Yunxiang Yan, Ph.D. (1993), is Professor of Anthropology at University of California, Los Angeles. He is the author of The Flow of Gifts (Stanford U P, 1996), Private Life under Socialism (Stanford U P, 2003), and The Individualization of Chinese Society (Berg, 2009).
List of Figures
Notes on Contributors

1 Introduction
The Inverted Family, Post- Patriarchal Intergenerationality and Neo-Familism 1   Yunxiang Yan

2 “We Do”
Parental Involvement in the Marriages of Urban Sons and Daughters
  Deborah S. Davis

3 The “Leftover” Majority
Why Urban Men and Women Born under China’s One- Child Policy Remain Unmarried through Age 27
  Vanessa L. Fong, Greene Ko, Cong Zhang, and Sung won Kim

4 United in Suffering
Rural Grandparents and the Intergenerational Contributions of Care
  Erin Thomason

5 Floating Grandparents
Rethinking Family Obligation and Intergenerational Support
  Xiaoying Qi

6 Families Under (Peer) Pressure
Self-Advocacy and Ambivalence among Women in Collective Dance Groups 123   Claudia Huang

7 Intimate Power
Intergenerational Cooperation and Conflicts in Childrearing among Urban Families
  Suowei Xiao

8 Losing an Only Child
Parental Grief among China’s Shidu Parents
  Lihong Shi

9 The Chinese Proto Neo-Family Configuration
A Historical Ethnography
  William Jankowiak

10 The Statist Model of Family Policy Making
  Yunxiang Yan

11 Three Discourses on Neo-Familism
  Yunxiang Yan


Scholars and graduate students in anthropology, sociology, demography, and psychology and other fields of China studies, as well as those who are interested in learning family and kinship.