Grant TypeDissertation Fieldwork Grant
Institutional AffiliationCase Western Reserve U.
Grant numberGr. 9361
Approve DateOctober 5, 2016
Project TitleZhang, Yan, Case Western Reserve U., Cleveland, OH - To aid research on 'Biopolitics of Aging and Caregiving: The Experience of Family Caregiving for Elders with Dementia in Shanghai, China,' supervised by Dr. Lihong Shi
YAN ZHANG, then a graduate student at Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio, was awarded a grant in October 2016 to aid research on ‘Biopolitics of Aging and Caregiving: The Experience of Family Caregiving for Elders with Dementia in Shanghai, China,’ supervised by Dr. Lihong Shi. Based on 12 months of ethnographic research, this project has explored the impact of the biopolitical constructions of dementia as a stigmatized mental disorder and the state enactment of family responsibility for eldercare on the experience of family caregiving for elders with dementia in China. Dementia has become an increasing public health concern in China due to its rapid increase and its medicalization as a stigmatized mental illness. Meanwhile, the Chinese government legalized family responsibility for eldercare in the 2013 Elder Protection Law. Although families constitute the primary resources for eldercare in many societies, little attention has been paid to the complex relations of state, professional power, social organizations, and families in enacting dementia care forms and practices. The grantee first investigated how dementia was conceptualized as a stigmatized mental disorder by examining the complex relations of state and professional power in knowledge production. Then research turned to the experience of family caregiving within the biopolitical discourse by examining the decision-making of care arrangement, care practices, and the seeking social support. Lastly, the project explored how family caregivers negotiate the moral self in taking care of elders with stigmatized mental illness. Overall, this project contributes to the cross-cultural understanding of dementia care within family settings.