Chinese childhood is undergoing a major transformation. This book explores how government policies introduced in China over the last few decades and processes of social and economic change are reshaping the lives of children and the meanings of childhood in complex, contradictory ways. Drawing on a broad range of literature and original ethnographic research, Naftali explores the rise of new ideas of child-care, child-vulnerability and child-agency; the impact of the One-Child Policy; and the emergence of children as independent consumers in the new market economy. She shows that Chinese boys and increasingly girls, too are enjoying a new empowerment, a development that has met with ambiguity and resistance from both caregivers and the state. She also demonstrates how economic restructuring and the recent waves of rural/urban migration have produced starkly unequal conditions for children s education and development both in the countryside and in the cities.
Children in China is essential reading for students and scholars seeking a deeper understanding of what it means to be a child in contemporary China, as well as for those concerned with the changing relationship between children, the state and the family in the global era.