Reconfigured Reciprocity: How Aging Taiwanese Immigrants Transform Cultural Logics of Elder Care

Chih-Yan SUN*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


Drawing on 55 interviews with older Taiwanese immigrants who relocated to the United States at an earlier life stage, the author argues that changing contextual features involved in the processes of international migration encourage and even demand aging immigrants to reconstruct cultural logics of aging and geriatric care. He develops the concept of reconfigured reciprocity to demonstrate how aging migrant populations transform cultural logics of intergenerational responsibility, obligation, and entitlement to reconcile the tension between ethnic tradition and modernity. First, he reveals how many of the respondents' lack of caregiving for their own parents undermines their sense of entitlement to receive care from younger generations. Furthermore, he highlights how the structural squeeze among work, family, and caregiving with which the younger generation struggles further discourages the respondents from relying on their children. Finally, the author underscores how aging immigrants evoke the concept of Americanization to reconstruct expectations of how they should be taken care of in their twilight years.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)875-889
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Marriage and Family
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2014

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Anthropology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

User-Defined Keywords

  • Aging
  • Caregiving
  • Elderly
  • Ethnicity
  • Family relations
  • Migration


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