University of Worcester Worcester Research and Publications

Identity and Culture: a Personal Reflection on Childhood in China

Harvell, Janet (2015) Identity and Culture: a Personal Reflection on Childhood in China. In: Children and Childhoods International Conference, 14th - 15th July 2015, University of Suffolk, UK. (Unpublished)

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The presentation reports on an original study that focused on examining the similarities and differences in the early years experiences of Chinese and English children. Evidence gathered over a four-year period included 25 visits to 15 different settings located in three urban areas: Beijing, Fuling and Qingdao. Primary data included first-hand observations, informal discussions and semi-structured interviews with staff working at a range of both private and government-run settings. A small case study, involving one English and one Chinese setting, provided an opportunity for more detailed investigation. The introduction of the ‘one child’ policy in 1979 as a response to the burgeoning population rate has had a significant impact on the Chinese family unit and parenting styles. Although its success in tackling the population rate cannot be denied, there is much continued discussion on the wide-ranging effects of this policy, not least the emergence of the ‘little emperor’ phenomenon; the result of four grandparents and two parents focusing their hopes and aspirations on one child, referred to as the ‘4-2-1’ family structure. It has been suggested that this has resulted in over-indulged children who have limited opportunities to develop social skills. More recent research has reinforced this concern as the first children born under the policy have ’come of age’, and more wide ranging impact of the policy comes under scrutiny. The presentation will explore the lived experience of Chinese children through the sharing of observations of the children and discussions with staff from the settings that were visited. Ethical practices were followed throughout.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Lecture)
Uncontrolled Discrete Keywords: China, identity, one-child, early years, little emperors, children, childhood
Subjects: L Education > L Education (General)
Divisions: College of Arts, Humanities and Education > School of Education
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Janet Harvell
Date Deposited: 19 Jul 2017 14:08
Last Modified: 17 Jun 2020 17:18

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