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ERIC Number: EJ879224
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 25
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 36
ISSN: ISSN-0192-513X
Power, Resistance, and Emotional Economies in Women's Relationships with Mothers-in-Law in Chinese Immigrant Families
Shih, Kristy Y.; Pyke, Karen
Journal of Family Issues, v31 n3 p333-357 2010
This interview study interrogates how cultural values of filial piety inform Chinese American daughters-in-law's understanding of their relationship and power dynamics with immigrant Chinese American mothers-in-law. Ideals of filial respect accord limited authority to mothers-in-law, who engage other mechanisms of power, such as their domestic expertise. Using the concept of emotional economies, this study finds that this strategy works when daughters-in-law feel gratitude for their mother-in-law's domestic expertise and child care but not when they resent it as intrusive or unnecessary. Mothers report more conflicts with their mothers-in-law than do childless respondents, and often strike "patriarchal bargains" by enlisting husbands to mediate conflicts on their behalf. Many respondents covertly resist by feigning compliance in the presence of their mother-in-law but disobeying in her absence. These findings suggest scholars should not assume Asian cultural ideals dictate actual family practices or that ritualistic displays of deference indicate powerlessness.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A