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'The New Generation: Chinese Childhoods'

Lau, Carmen (2009) 'The New Generation: Chinese Childhoods'. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

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Abstract

Based on a data set of 72 semi-structured interviews, undertaken with 12 British Chinese families, this PhD sets out to explore the nature of the childhood experience within contemporary British Chinese households. By speaking to parents and children of each family using repeat interviews over a nine-month period, accounts of family life and their relationships with one another can be revealed from both generational perspectives. From this research, there appears to be a similarity between the practices of past and contemporary British Chinese households, which also coincides with accounts from pre-existing academic literature. Research findings suggest that Chinese parents (regardless of backgrounds and length of UK residency), not only identify themselves as being Chinese, but also hold strong attachments to 'traditional' Chinese values and norms. For some British Chinese families this causes domestic issues and problems between parents and their more Westernised offspring. However in comparison to the past, some parents alter and modify their Chinese cultural beliefs which then affect their child-rearing methods, intimacy levels and opportunities for the child's agency. Reasons for this include the parent's own childhood experience, parent's exposure and acceptance of Western practices, as well as empathy for their child's experience of being a British Chinese citizen. External circumstances such as the social setting and surroundings, the actions of the child as well as the parent-child relationship itself also influence household relations and operations. As such, cultural factors alone are not sufficient in explaining and investigating British Chinese families. Instead contemporary British Chinese parenting approaches, parent-child intimacy levels and children's agency should be seen as an interactive and reciprocal process, that are created by and contingent upon practices within and outside of the home. By highlighting the many levels to which British Chinese families play out their lives and how members make sense of their relationships and behaviours, this study expands on the current literature that portrays cultural norms as the main explanatory factor for British Chinese household functioning.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law (Leeds) > School of Sociology and Social Policy (Leeds)
Depositing User: Ethos Import
Date Deposited: 13 Jun 2011 14:02
Last Modified: 07 Mar 2014 11:13
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/1536

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