“By whom was I left behind?”
Identity struggles in the narratives of Chinese leftover women (sheng nü)
Applying Bamberg’s (2012) practice-oriented analytical framework for narrative identity as produced through specific linguistic behaviours, this research focuses on the context-specific construction of multiple identities in the accounts of Chinese leftover women (sheng nü). It also seeks to investigate how they negotiate selves and handle struggles in both the storyworld and the storytelling-world by examining the trinity of form, content and context narrated in seven semi-structured interviews. This research reveals that these unmarried Chinese women attempt to narrate a positive positioning of self. They deconstruct the socially ascribed leftover identity but renegotiate a gendered self as either invisible or visible women integrated within an agentic ‘excellent’ (youxiu) self, albeit somehow disrupted within the diverse embedding of patriarchal cultural accounts.
- Literature review
- Bamberg’s (2012) dimensions and a reflection
- Critical analysis: Narrated identity struggles
- Repudiated leftover self
- Gendered self: Invisible or visible women?
- Narrated ‘manly woman’ (nü-hanzi)
- Deconstructed third-gender
- ‘Excellent’ (youxiu) self: Agency in (dis)continuity