This book presents a pioneering ethnographic exploration of practices and ideologies of eldercare in the bingtuan - a paramilitary state organization composed largely of migrants (most of them very poor) to the north-western frontier province of Xinjiang since the 1949 Communist Revolution. In exploring the discourses and actions of the elderly, their relatives, and the state, the book uncovers the ways in which macro-level economic and social transformations are linked to the material and emotional realities of ordinary Chinese people. The light shed on gender and inter-generational relations within the modern urbanized bingtuan illuminates ageing, care and social support mechanisms in an era of rapid social change globally.
Heila Sha was born and raised in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. She was educated in Beijing, obtained her doctorate in 2015 at the Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg and is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Sussex (UK).