Intimate Politics and Ethics of Care: Mental Health Law Reform and Family Practices in Contemporary China


Henry Luce Foundation/ACLS Program in China Studies Predissertation-Summer Travel Grants




At the critical historical moment of national mental health law reform, this study examines how the medico-legal regime configures the family's everyday practices of care; how people draw on different sociocultural imaginaries of the family to negotiate the direction of the post-socialist state's governance; and how familial ethics of care supplement, resist, or transform the institutional politics of normalization. I combine ethnographic analysis of hospital care and community mental health outreach with historical analysis of the legislation process and the public debates. In so doing, this study will help us understand the historical multiplicities and transformations of intimate governance in contemporary China during the age of global welfare devolution.