Caring in Times of Precarity

A Study of Single Women Doing Creative Work in Shanghai

  • Chow Yiu Fai

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xii
  2. Chow Yiu Fai
    Pages 51-89
  3. Chow Yiu Fai
    Pages 119-149
  4. Chow Yiu Fai
    Pages 151-187
  5. Chow Yiu Fai
    Pages 189-218
  6. Chow Yiu Fai
    Pages 219-251
  7. Chow Yiu Fai
    Pages 253-286
  8. Chow Yiu Fai
    Pages 287-291
  9. Back Matter
    Pages 293-345

About this book


Caring in Times of Precarity draws together two key cultural observations: the increase in those living a single life, and the growing attraction of creative careers. Straddling this historical juncture, the book focuses on one particular group of ‘precariat’: single women in Shanghai in various forms of creative (self-)employment. While negotiating their share of the uncanny creative work ethos, these women also find themselves interpellated as shengnü (‘left-over women’) in a society configured by a mix of Confucian values, heterosexual ideals, and global images of womanhood. Following these women’s professional, social and intimate lives, the book refuses to see their singlehood and creative labour as problematic, and them as victims. It departs from dominant thinking on precarity, which foregrounds and critiques the contemporary need to be flexible, mobile, and spontaneous to the extent of (self-)exploitation, accepting insecurity. The book seeks to understand– empirically and specifically–women’s everyday struggles and pleasures. It highlights the up-close, everyday embodied, affective, and subjective experience in a particular Chinese city, with broader, global resonances well beyond China. Exploring the limits of the politics of precarity, the book proposes an ethics of care.


Shanghai Single Women Creative Careers Womanhood Singlehood Creative Labour Precarity Unmarried women China

Authors and affiliations

  • Chow Yiu Fai
    • 1
  1. 1.Hong Kong Baptist UniversityKowloon TongHong Kong

Bibliographic information