A Mosaic Temporality: New Dynamics of the Gender and Marriage System in Contemporary Urban China

Contemporary Chinese society has witnessed ongoing complex institutional and cultural reconfiguration, driven by the transition from the socialist planned economy to marketization and later its deep engagement in globalization and neoliberalism. In this reshaping of Chinese society, tradition and modernity, the resurgence of patriarchal Confucian tradition, the socialist version of modernity, the capitalist version of modernity, and the socialist heritage intermingle, and all seem to define a mosaic temporality.Facing the increasing uncertainties of the market, family members in post-reform China have to stick together as an economic safety net, emotional harbor and spiritual fortress. Chinese parents heavily invest in their children and continue to support them in their adulthood; whereas, the youth is under great obligation to providing old age care for their parents; and parents may regard this heavily-invested offspring as their private product. This resurgent but modified familialism, is not an exact replication of traditional familialism, but is definitely different from the family modes featured by individualism in Western contexts. Mosaic familialism is characterized by a sequential symbiosis between parents and children facing financial constraints and unforeseeable uncertainties with a lack of a social safety net. At the same time, patriarchal Confucianism is rejuvenated to a certain degree, women’s traditional wife and mother role is once again stressed, if not glorified; and the neoliberal discourse articulating personal choice and responsibility, but not individual right, stands by seamlessly. Parents and children, husband and wife are dependent on each other in the intimate family, following a clearly gendered pattern.
Keywords China post-reformista   Chine post-réforme   Generation-Gender Symbiosis   Mosaic Familialism   Mosaic Temporality   Post-Reform China   familialisme mosaïque   familiarismo mosaico   simbiosis generación-género   symbiose de génération-de genre   temporalidad mosaico  mosaïque temporelle
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