Debating “Good” Care: The Challenges of Dementia Care in Shanghai, China


  • Yan Zhang Case Western Reserve University



dementia care, state-society relations, forms of life, China, humanitarian ethics, Confucian values


The increasing number of dementia sufferers in China has transformed dementia care from a private issue to a public concern. Nationwide dementia-friendly campaigns have intensified debates about what constitutes “good” care. In response to these campaigns, the Shanghai government proposes a systematic care model, which stresses the need for dementia-care units and professionalization. Non-state actors, however, focus on the relational care model, which integrates western humanitarian ethics with Confucian values. This article employs cultural and structural frameworks to examine why and how a specific form of “good” care is constructed in China. The debates about the establishment of dementia-care units and the professionalization of eldercare enable us to understand how politics shape certain forms of care.

Author Biography

Yan Zhang, Case Western Reserve University

Ph.D candidate

Department of Anthropology


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