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Cantonese Society in Hong Kong and SingaporeGender, Religion, Medicine and Money$
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Marjorie Topley and Jean DeBernardi

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9789888028146

Published to Hong Kong Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5790/hongkong/9789888028146.001.0001

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Cosmic Antagonisms: A Mother-Child Syndrome

Cosmic Antagonisms: A Mother-Child Syndrome


(p.471) Chapter 18 Cosmic Antagonisms: A Mother-Child Syndrome
Cantonese Society in Hong Kong and Singapore

Marjorie Topley

, Jean DeBernardi
Hong Kong University Press

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

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