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Children in China

ISBN: 978-1-5095-0595-1
192 pages
June 2016, Polity
Children in China (1509505954) cover image

Description

Chinese childhood is undergoing a major transformation. This book explores how government policies introduced in China over the last few decades and processes of social and economic change are reshaping the lives of children and the meanings of childhood in complex, contradictory ways.

Drawing on a broad range of literature and original ethnographic research, Naftali explores the rise of new ideas of child-care, child-vulnerability and child-agency; the impact of the One-Child Policy; and the emergence of children as independent consumers in the new market economy. She shows that Chinese boys and increasingly girls, too are enjoying a new empowerment, a development that has met with ambiguity and resistance from both caregivers and the state. She also demonstrates how economic restructuring and the recent waves of rural/urban migration have produced starkly unequal conditions for children’s education and development both in the countryside and in the cities.

Children in China is essential reading for students and scholars seeking a deeper understanding of what it means to be a child in contemporary China, as well as for those concerned with the changing relationship between children, the state and the family in the global era.
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Table of Contents

  • Map
  • Chronology
  • Acknowledgements
  • Introduction
  • Chapter 1. Chinese Childhood in the Modern Era
  • Chapter 2. Raising Children in Contemporary China: Discourse and Practice
  • Chapter 3. Children and the Effects of the One-Child Policy
  • Chapter 4. Childhood and Consumption in the New Market Economy
  • Chapter 5. Children in the Countryside: The Effects of Economic Reforms and Parental Migration
  • Chapter 6. China's Migrant Children: Opportunity and Exclusion
  • Conclusion. Chinese Childhood in the 21st Century: Current Trends and Future Directions
  • References
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Author Information

Orna Naftali is Lecturer in the Department of Asian Studies and Research Fellow in the Harry S. Truman Research Institute of the Advancement of Peace at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
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Reviews

"The past twenty years have seen an explosion of research on the transformations of childhood in China. In this book, Orna Naftali gives us a masterful overview of these efforts. Drawing on her own research and the writings of others, she shows how China?s many transformations have differentially affected the lives of children from a diverse array of backgrounds."
Andrew Kipnis, The Australian National University

"Orna Naftali's new book is a wonderful resource for those seeking to understand how a century of revolution and reform in modern China has shaped - and continues to shape - the lives of Chinese children. Through the lens of childhood, she engages with a series of critical issues facing China today, including those related to migration, consumption, globalization and national identity."
Charles Stafford, London School of Economics

"This book presents a clear, engaging overview of the latest scholarship about children in China. With vivid, specific examples as well as well-supported generalizations about the situations of urban, rural, and migrant children in many different areas of China, it is the most comprehensive book about Chinese children available."
Vanessa Fong, Amherst College

"Naftali?s book is a welcome addition to the growing literature on the mixed effects of China?s market reforms. It is a great guide for anyone interested in learning about children, education, and family relations in 21st-century China."
Choice
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