This ethnographic study entailed interviews and observations over 2 years involving 35 Hong Kong Chinese families caring for elderly coresidenlial members. Bodily disorder was a starting point from which to locate identifiably Chinese attempts to restore disrupted family relations. Themes included bodies out of order-challenging Confucian-informed models of family obligation; controlling bodily excretions; the body in decay; and the body as the location of self. The management of bodily order by Chinese caregivers provides a cultural category in which personal experiences are ordered as public matters within specific local contexts. Caregivers dealt with both the demands of bodily needs and the imperative to maintain a social relationship. The establishment of bodily and self-order reflects a Chinese social system whereby moral duties are located primarily in kinship. The author summarizes culturally specific ways in which health professionals working with Chinese families involved in long-term care can target assessment and interventions before the onset of physical and emotional deterioration.
- Order self