Academic journal article Journal of Marriage and Family

Towards a Chinese Conception of Social Support: A Study on the Social Support Networks of Chinese Working Mothers in Beijing

Academic journal article Journal of Marriage and Family

Towards a Chinese Conception of Social Support: A Study on the Social Support Networks of Chinese Working Mothers in Beijing

Article excerpt

Towards a Chinese Conception of Social Support: A Study on the Social Support Networks of Chinese Working Mothers in Beijing. Angelina W. K. Yuen-Tsang. Aldershot, England: Ashgate. 1997. 280 pp. ISBN 1-84014-167-0. 37.50 cloth.

Towards a Chinese Conception of Social Support shows a profound understanding of a relationoriented society (Liang, 1974) and captures the nature of traditional Chinese social support systems in urban China. It conceptualizes the underlying social support available for working mothers as "Chinese communal support networks." These networks are characterized by the pooling of network resources, holistic provision of support, rigid boundaries between insiders and outsiders, and a strong sense of reciprocity throughout life. The research method is well justified, and the credibility of the findings is enhanced by the measures and data analysis. Methods used include focus groups, participant observations, revisits with the interviewees, theoretical sampling, triangulation, peer debriefings, and member checks.

Because reliability verification is not the primary concern of an interpretive researcher, any attempt to extend the sample to the whole population runs the risk of unwarranted generalization. The research presented in this book no doubt successfully documents the characteristics and conceptions of the social support system through the eyes of 27 working mothers in a Beijing neighborhood, but the demographic features of these women (74% lived in quadrangles, 63% lived with parents-in-law, 55% were from age 30 to 40, and 30% had an education above secondary school) may not provide "a representative picture of an urban community" in the People's Republic of China, as the researcher states (p. …

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