Official Discourse on Family and Fatherhood in Post-1949 China
Keywords:Chinese fatherhood, official discourse, gender roles, child-rearing, household duties.
This paper aims to investigate three main research questions regarding the history of family and fatherhood in China since 1949: a) What 'ideal father' has the party-state sought to promote at different times? b) How consistent have official messages been? What have been the key shifts in official discourse on family and fatherhood since the Mao era? c) Why have these shifts occurred? Analysis of selected policy statements and print media reveal four main phases, with distinct findings in each. During the period of collectivization (1950s to 70s), the Communist Party of China (CPC) adopted the nationalist model of parenting. Fathers were explicitly suggested to devote themselves to economic development. During the period of de-collectivization (late 1970s to mid-1990s), CPC adopted an individualist model of parenting. There was increasing encouragement for father's participant in child education. During the period of marketization (mid 1990s to 2011), CPC promoted a state-supported model of parenting. Father's active participation in household duties was more expected. During the period of individualization (2012 to the present), China set up community model of parenting. Father's dual role of nurturer and provider is more emphasized.
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