Guest lecture by YAN Yunxiang, Ph.D.

Neo-Familism and the Common Good: Parent Advocacy for Social Inclusion in Urban China

This public lecture explores the intersection between values of Chinese neo-familism (especially those of intergenerational solidarity and identity-integration) and collective actions of social advocacy among three groups of urban parents. The first group consists of “rainbow parents” (彩虹父母), who are straight parents openly supporting their LGBT adult children and fighting for the rights of sexual minorities in public life. The majority of the second group are parents of children with autism or other intellectual disabilities who have established grassroots organizations to advocate for their children’s rights of education and social inclusion, known as xingxing parents (星星父母). The third group includes parents who lost their only child in late-middle or old age, commonly known as shidu parents (失独父母) in Chinese public discourse. The central question is: under what conditions, by what mechanism, and to what extent, might the private virtues of familism contribute to the common good in the public sphere? Intriguingly, while traditional familism has been chiefly responsible for the stigmatization and marginalization of these parents, the values of neo-familism enable them to search for alternative ways to protect their children and to engage in social advocacy for diversity and inclusion. Their advocacy work contributed to the formation of common good in Chinese society and bridged familial values and civic values.

YAN Yunxiang, professor of anthropology at University of California, Los Angeles. He is the author of The Flow of Gifts: Reciprocity and Social Networks in a Chinese Village (Stanford University Press, 1996), Private Life under Socialism: Love, Intimacy, and Family Change in a Chinese Village, 1949-1999 (Stanford University Press, 2003), and The Individualization of Chinese Society (Berg 2009). He is the editor of Chinese Families Upside Down: Intergenerational Dynamics and Neo-Familism in the Early 21st Century (Brill 2021). His research interests include family and kinship, social change, the individual and individualization, and the impact of cultural globalization.

For more information, please refer to the attached PDF

DATE: Wednesday, May 8, 2024
TIME: 18:30 – 20:00
LOCATION: SIN 1, at the Department for East Asian Studies/Chinese Studies, Altes AKH, Campus, Spitalgasse 2, Yard 2, Entrance 2.3

REGISTRATION: Please register your participation here:

Guest lecture by YAN Yunxiang, Ph.D.