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Beyond Filial Piety: Rethinking Aging and Caregiving in Contemporary East Asian Societies

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Volume 6

Life Course, Culture and Aging: Global Transformations

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Beyond Filial Piety

Rethinking Aging and Caregiving in Contemporary East Asian Societies

Edited by Jeanne Shea, Katrina Moore and Hong Zhang

432 pages, 20 illus., bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78920-788-0 $149.00/£110.00 Hb Published (July 2020)

eISBN 978-1-78920-789-7 eBook

Hb View cartYour country: United States - Click here to remove geolocation   Buy the eBook! $39.95 Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format) Recommend to your Library Available in GOBI®


“[This] is a highly commendable work of scholarship with wide appeal that will be an essential resource for anyone interested in the dynamic field of aging and care in East Asia. I learned a lot and would recommend it to anyone who is interested in East Asian society.” • Jason Danely, Oxford Brookes University

“This is an excellent volume that is particularly timely given the significant demographic challenges that East Asian societies are facing related to population aging and population decline. It is an outstanding collection by a group of excellent scholars.” • John Trapaghan, University of Texas

“The editors describe their manuscript as in dialogue with my 2004 volume on filial piety. Much more than just a timely update, this is an excellent book” • Charlotte Ikels, Case Western Reserve University


Known for a tradition of Confucian filial piety, East Asian societies have some of the oldest and most rapidly aging populations on earth. Today these societies are experiencing unprecedented social challenges to the filial tradition of adult children caring for aging parents at home. Marshalling mixed methods data, this volume explores the complexities of aging and caregiving in contemporary East Asia. Questioning romantic visions of a senior’s paradise, chapters examine emerging cultural meanings of and social responses to population aging, including caregiving both for and by the elderly. Themes include traditional ideals versus contemporary realities, the role of the state, patterns of familial and non-familial care, social stratification, and intersections of caregiving and death. Drawing on ethnographic, demographic, policy, archival, and media data, the authors trace both common patterns and diverging trends across China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Japan, and Korea.

Jeanne Shea is Associate Professor of Anthropology and Director of the Health and Society Program and the Global Health Concentration in Anthropology at the University of Vermont. Recipient of a Fulbright Senior Scholar Research Award, she has published her research in many scholarly journals and edited volumes.

Katrina Moore is Lecturer in Anthropology at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia. Her most recent publications include The Joy of Noh: Embodied Learning and Discipline in Urban Japan (SUNY, 2014) and an article on retirement and interdependence among Japanese baby boomers in Anthropology and Ageing.

Hong Zhang is Associate Professor of East Asian Studies at Colby College in Waterville, Maine. She is the recipient of many research grants, including a Fulbright Senior Scholar Research Award and Freeman Foundation grants and has published in numerous edited volumes and journals.

Subject: Anthropology (General) Sociology
Area: Asia-Pacific


List of Illustrations
Notes on Text and Transliteration

Introduction: Beyond Filial Piety: Rethinking Aging and Caregiving in Contemporary East Asian Societies
Jeanne Shea, Katrina Moore, and Hong Zhang

Part I: Aging and Caregiving in Chinese Contexts

Chapter 1. Old-Age Support in Rural China: Case Study of the Jiangxiang Model for Community-Based Filial Piety
Youcai Tang and Jeanne Shea

Chapter 2. Meanings of Spousal Eldercare in Life and Death in China
Jeanne Shea

Chapter 3. “Too Busy to Do Anything Else”: How Caregiving and Urban Sojourning Impact the Aging Experience of China’s Migrant Grandparents
Min Zhang

Chapter 4. Population Ageing and Care of the Elderly in Hong Kong
Michelle Shum and Terry Lum

Chapter 5. Teach Me to Be Filial: Intergenerational Care in Singapore Families
Leng Leng Thang and Kalyani Mehta

Chapter 6. Constructing Networks of Elder Care across Borders: The Experiences of Taiwanese Immigrants in the US and their Parents in the Homeland
Ken Chih-Yan Sun

Part II: Aging and Caregiving in Japanese Contexts

Chapter 7. Who Cares for the Elders? Ageing, Independence, and Interdependence in Contemporary Japan
Katrina Moore

Chapter 8. “Son, I’ve Already Become a Mummy”: The Sociocultural Contexts of Missing Centenarians in Super-Aging Japan
Heekyoung Kim

Chapter 9. Rethinking Burden: Japanese Elder Care Careers from Helping to Grieving
Susan Long and Ruth Campbell

Part III: Aging and Caregiving in Korean Contexts

Chapter 10. Filial Piety and Elder Care in 21st Century Korea: “Without Feeling Guilty”
Hyun Ji Lee and Kyong Hee Chee

Chapter 11. The Dynamics of Care in the Context of Limited Repatriation of Sakhalin Korean Elderly
Dorota Szawarska

Chapter 12. Expansion of End of Life Care Services in South Korea: A Qualitative Analysis of the Experiences of Family Caregivers and Hospice Staff
Sooyoun Han and Jeanne Shea

Conclusion: Contemporary Trends in and Future Directions for Aging and Caregiving in East Asian Societies
Jeanne Shea, Katrina Moore, and Hong Zhang

Appendix I: (Table 13.3) – Historical Trends Noted in Shea, Moore, & Zhang (2020) and Ikels (2004)
Appendix II: (Table 13.4) – Topical/Thematic Coverage in Shea, Moore, & Zhang (2020) and Ikels (2004)


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