“Beijing Aunties Have Something to Say” : Aging Self-Consciousness and Collective Action in Contemporary China


Justine Rochot ; Prof Stuart Gietel-Basten


In late 2015, a WeChat account called “Beijing Aunties Have Something to Say” (北京大妈有话说) was created by a small Beijing-based company. Now widely known among Chinese retirees, this platform provides its followers, born between the late 1940s and the early 1960s, with a space to meet up with peer-retirees scattered all over the country, but also with hundreds of videos featuring middle-aged volunteer women speaking up in the name of elderly’s interests and spreading awareness about generationally shared injustices. Using both ethnographic materials and video content analysis, this seminar will take the “Beijing Aunties” as a case study to address the development of an “aging self-conscious community” of Chinese retirees defending their collective interests despite China’s constrained political environment.

About the speaker

Justine Rochot is a Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow at the Center for Studies on Modern and Contemporary China (EHESS, Paris), and an associate researcher at the French Centre for Research on Contemporary China (CEFC, Taipei). In 2019, she defended a PhD in sociology (EHESS) on retirees gatherings in contemporary urban China. She is currently conducting an ethnographic research on lifelong learning institutions in Taiwan.



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