10 March 2020

ThinkChina Podcast: Motherhood in Urban China

Urban Mothers in China

Listen or re-listen to the ChinaTalks Lecture with Chen Meng, assistant professor of sociology at the School of Sociology and Political Science, Shanghai University, on Motherhood in Urban China.

Abstract 

Based on in-depth interviews with thirteen middle-class mothers in Shanghai, this lecture explores the social construction of the ideal mother in metropolitan China. It reveals that middle-class women face the conflict between their own perception of the ideal status of being a mother and motherhood expected by the family and the society. Whereas the middle-class mothers are keen in seeking a delicate balance between childrearing and their own work and life, their perception of good motherhood is shaped both by gender division within family and the dominant motherhood ideology outside the family. While the middle-class mothers tend to be alert to the media discourse of ‘super-moms’, their self-assessment of whether they are good mothers reflects their deliberate reflection of motherhood and internalization of the dominant repertoire of motherhood. This paper reveals the emergence of ‘knowledge and emotion intensive motherhood’ in urban China. Nevertheless, it is worth noting how women claim their autonomy in their practice of motherhood.

Short bio: Chen Meng

Chen Meng

Chen Meng is an assistant professor of sociology at the School of Sociology and Political Science, Shanghai University. She received her Ph.D in Social Change from Institute for Social Change, University of Manchester. Before that, she earned her MA degrees at the Department of Sociology, University of Birmingham and School of Journalism, Fudan University.

Listen to the Chinatalks Lecture

Digested version:

Full Version:

Q&A: