Chapter 18 regards childhood as a structural feature of Chinese society that both shapes and is shaped by children’s everyday family lives. It discusses filial piety as a key cultural theme underpinning children’s family lives and their intergenerational relationships. This chapter also examines particular aspects of contemporary parenting that might be said to relate to the theme of filial piety, namely empirical work on obedience and discipline. Next, it studies autonomy and independence as features of parenting that might be said to resonate with recent social policies and discourses of children’s rights, and reviews empirical work relevant to these themes. This chapter concludes by pointing to the need to move beyond any straightforward dichotomy of themes and practices associated with filial piety as opposed to those associated with children’s rights.
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