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Me and My Family: Perceptions of Individual and Collective among Young Rural Chinese

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This article discusses how young people born and raised in rural areas of China perceive and account for individual choice and responsibility in relation to their family and the state. Based on personal narratives of more than 100 young people, the article shows how concepts of freedom, independence, free love and personal development are widespread among young villagers who are searching, not merely for economic prosperity, but for a self-fulfilling life. They express a remarkably strong sense of individual responsibility for success or failure, and even tend to idealise individual choice. The article argues that in spite of young people's growing demands for individual space and the rapid changes in the relations between the generations, the family remains the most important collective for these young people, emotionally and as their only source of social security and support.

Affiliations: 1: University of Oslo;, Email: m.h.hansen@ikos.uio.no; 2: University of Oslo

10.1163/156805808X333929
/content/journals/10.1163/156805808x333929
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/content/journals/10.1163/156805808x333929
2008-04-01
2016-09-27

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