Children’s Healthcare and Parental Media Engagement in Urban China

A Culture of Anxiety?

  • Qian Gong

About this book


'The ‘culture of anxiety’ that pervades contemporary societies to the detriment of everyday life and experience is nowhere more marked than among parents. This book makes an important and innovative contribution to the investigation of this matter, as it has developed in China. Taking health care and young children as its focus, it provides thought provoking discussion about the interplay between media (including new media) and the workings of risk consciousness, in an economy characterised by rapid change. The empirical work discussed in the book that explores the experience of parents and grandparents is of particular interest methodologically.'

- Dr Ellie Lee, School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research, University of Kent

This book analyses parental anxieties about their children’s healthcare issues in urban China, engaging with wider theoretical debates about modernity, risk and anxiety. It examines the broader social, cultural and historical contexts of parental anxiety by analysing a series of socio-economic changes and population policy changes in post-reform China that contextualise parental experiences. Drawing on Wilkinson’s (2001) conceptualisation linking individual’s risk consciousness to anxiety, this book analyses the situated risk experiences of parents’ and grandparents’, looking particularly into their engagement with various types of media. It studies the representations of health issues and health-related risks in a parenting magazine, popular newspapers, commercial advertising and new media, as well as parents’ and grandparents’ engagement with and response to these media representations. By investigating ‘a culture of anxiety’ among parents and grandparents in contemporary China, this book seeks to add to the scholarship of contemporary parenthood in a non-Western context. 


Risk anxiety health communication media parenting modernity neoliberalism China Parents grandparents healthcare

Authors and affiliations

  • Qian Gong
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Leicester LeicesterUnited Kingdom

Bibliographic information