Date of Submission

Spring 2013

Academic Program


Project Advisor 1

Stuart Levine

Abstract/Artist's Statement

It has been 35 years since the Chinese government first introduced the One-Child Policy in 1978 to control the rapidly growing population. The first generation born after the policy was instated are mainly only children and are usually referred to as the "post-80" generation. As they are stepping into their thirties and becoming parents, the current project explores their expectations for their children, with a focus on urban post-80 mothers' expectations for their children's freedom of choice and how these expectations are different from those of the previous generations. A telephone survey was conducted with 82 urban mothers from four major cities in China. Results showed that the urban singleton mothers—mothers who are only children themselves—expected in general more freedom of choice for their children; the post-80 mothers in general were more satisfied with the freedom of choice they had in their childhood than pre-80 mothers. These results suggested that despite various critiques, the One-Child Policy might have increased Chinese urban mothers’ expectations for their children’s freedom of choice.

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