Seesaw Precarity: Journaling Anxious Hope on a Chinese University Campus During Covid-19.

Publication date: Feb 23, 2024

In this article, we examine the Covid-19 experiences of a group of Chinese university students studying in the city of Guangzhou. We draw on journal entries that Chinese students submitted to the Pandemic Journaling Project between March and May 2022, along with follow-up responses in July and December 2022, to argue that these students spent most of their undergraduate years living in a state of “seesaw precarity. ” We define seesaw precarity as a protracted period during which many Chinese were unable to predict from one day to the next whether they would be free to engage in the quotidian activities of everyday life. We trace student reactions and adaptations as they struggled to attend class, buy food, and see friends and family in the midst of unpredictable swings between openness and closedness. The seesaw nature of restrictions spurred considerable anxiety among the students we followed, but also produced an optimistic mindset we refer to as “anxious hope. ” Participants accepted the necessity of Covid controls and felt it was incumbent upon them as individuals to adjust to this reality. They saw themselves as responsible for actively cultivating a positive mindset. Our findings suggest that the promotion of emotional self-care and anxious hope during the pandemic may have supported the viability of long-term controls as well as the acceptability of their sudden abandonment, while muting the possibility of resistance.

Concepts Keywords
Chinese Anxious hope
July China
Pandemic Covid-19
Student Seesaw precarity


Type Source Name
disease MESH Covid-19
disease VO viability

Original Article

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