Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Invoking Personhood in Contemporary China: Seeing through the Lens of a Beijing Family Therapy Center
by Chen, Wenrui, Ph.D., New York University, 2015, 285; 3740786
Abstract (Summary)

As China’s sweeping social and economic reforms passes its third decade, a once reviled discipline is gaining popularity and prominence among the urban middle class. Described by some researchers as a ‘psycho-boom,’ the rise of the psychological sciences brings to the fore the unique challenges and issues of contemporary Chinese life for urban, middle class families through a psychological lens. Drawing on fieldwork conducted between 2011 and 2013 at a Beijing Family Therapy Center, this dissertation explores the implications of social (e.g. population control) and economic (e.g. privatization) policies for the imbricating of family relations, especially between mothers and sons. The author puts forth an ‘expansive-I’ notion of personhood which challenges the presumed singular concept of person. Additionally, based on participant-observation of family therapy sessions and interviews with family therapists, this dissertation emphasizes the contingent, interactive quality of therapy, complicating psychotherapy’s relationship to governmentality and biopower.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Martin, Emily
Commitee: Hansen, Helena, Schieffelin, Bambi, Zhang, Li, Zito, Angela
School: New York University
Department: Anthropology
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-A 77/05(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Cultural anthropology
Keywords: China, Family, Mental health, Population, Psychological anthropology, Psychotherapy
Publication Number: 3740786
ISBN: 978-1-339-32900-0
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