Cosmic Antagonisms: A Mother-Child Syndrome

Marjorie Topley

Edited by Jean DeBernardi

in Cantonese Society in Hong Kong and Singapore

Published by Hong Kong University Press

Published in print January 2011 | ISBN: 9789888028146
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9789882206663 | DOI:
Cosmic Antagonisms: A Mother-Child Syndrome

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The period immediately following the birth of a baby is a time of biological and emotional adjustment for mother and child, when, in the Chinese view, a variety of difficulties can be anticipated. During an exploratory child-rearing study conducted in urban Hong Kong in 1969, twenty illiterate and semi-literate mothers of small children sought different explanations and treatments when any one or two such difficulties persisted. However, when they all persisted together, the women all thought that there must be a causal connection. This syndrome is the subject of this chapter. The mothers' explanations of the syndrome rest on cosmological assumptions. To understand conceptions of maladjustment, this chapter looks at what these women thought to be happening in the period of postnatal adjustment.

Keywords: child-rearing; Hong Kong; syndrome; cosmological assumptions; maladjustment; postnatal adjustment; mothers

Chapter.  7903 words. 

Subjects: Society and Culture

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