Chinese Ageism Lives On: Grassroots Reports on Elderly Learning in Shaanxi, Jiangxi, and Jiangsu

  • Roger BoshierEmail author
Part of the Education in the Asia-Pacific Region: Issues, Concerns and Prospects book series (EDAP, volume 15)


In the west it is customary to deploy psychological constructs to explain the learning of older adults. In China the precariousness of growing old makes psychological issues less pressing than troubling questions about ageism, human rights, and the marginalization and abuse of older people within modernization discourses. With these kinds of preoccupations in mind, the author sought advice from two well-off elderly Chinese (in Jiangsu) and two impoverished older people in the Shaanxi and Jiangxi countryside. Using the biographies of these informants as a backdrop, the author examined issues pertaining to learning and life for older adults in China. The author reached these conclusions. Instead of being discursively constructed as ‘dependants’ or ‘a problem’, older adults should be valued. As active and informed citizens, older adults are vital to maintenance of a harmonious society. In China there are exemplary learning programmes for older adults but a habitual tendency to locate them within formal education. Too many Chinese officials have prejudicial ideas about ‘old’ or ‘retired’ people. Little is available to senior citizens in rural areas and more work is needed. People involved with fostering elderly learning in China need arenas wherein they can gather and exchange ideas.


Elderly People Lifelong Learning Chinese Communist Party Senior Citizen Cultural Revolution 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada

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