Background Many scholars claim that recent changes to Chinese society since economic reform have challenged longstanding forms of informal social care, such as filial piety. For instance there is a societal tension at work in contemporary Chinese society today. On the one hand decreasing co-residence in multi-generational households caused by rural-urban migration, population ageing, the fall in fertility and ‘One-Child Policy’, and women’s increasing participation in the labour market, emphasises an individualised, wage earning centred society. On the other hand, the Chinese government has sought to enforce a form of institutionalised filial piety through policies that legally require younger generations fulfil the full responsibility of care as there is no institutionalised equivalent of the welfare state to provide e.g. home help or personal care to the elderly whose relatives live and work at some distance. This places many younger generations in the contradiction of having to comply with neo-liberal labour market demands while also fulfilling state enforced filial piety.
Aim This research is to look at how Chinese migrant worker experience perceived filial responsibilities in relation to End-of-Life care for parents diagnosed with cancer in the current Chinese context.
Method My PhD, based on interviews with migrant peasant workers caught in this dilemma by the demands of having a terminally ill parent, examines how Chinese migrant peasant workers negotiate and conduct their filial practices.
Results The preliminary analysis of the interviews suggests that ‘Filial Piety’ is getting reconstructed in multifaceted ways as they negotiate the care dilemmas they face. The way they engage with the concept of filial piety enables and constrains how they can think about and practically organise their parents’ care.
Conclusion The result would shed a light on evaluation of and suggestions for governmental policy-makings, such as the newly implemented Parent-Visiting law in China, in terms of better reinforcing familial value and equipping end-of-life care, as well as taking into account of the specificity of peasant migrant workers’ socio-economic status quo.
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