Aikedan Ainiwaer


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Aikedan Ainiwaer

DPhil candidate, Oxford School of Global and Area Studies


Hi, I am Akida. I am a first-year doctoral student at OSGA researching sociology, Chinese social policy, especially eldercare policy and cohabitation, from a gender perspective. I am focusing on social issues caused by the steep rise of the ageing population in China. I have been particularly enthused about identifying how material conditions, socioeconomic status, gender, culture and ideology influence people's behaviour and experiences in the family and different societies. 

I got four degrees through an unusual study path, including two Bachelor's and two Master's degrees from Peking University and the London School of Economics and Political Science, which offered me a profound interdisciplinary research capability. Given my multi-language skills (English, Chinese, Turkic languages and a little Russian and Japanese) and diverse cultural background. I always look at things through a comparative lens, which has cultivated a curious, open, and rational mind in me. 

Alongside academia, art is colouring my DPhil life. I enjoy playing the violin in the OUP orchestra, painting and ballroom dancing. I am also a keen language learner. My life has been deeply intervolved with the notion of ‘intersectionality’; therefore, I value and embrace diversity. I am open to and enjoy talking with people from different cultural backgrounds, ethnicity, nationality and identity.

DPhil topic

In the past few decades, a rising divorce rate and declining marriage rate indicate that the institution of family and marriage has undergone significant changes in Chinese society. Later life cohabitation among older ‘couples’ (‘Cohabitating model’) as a substitute for formal marriage and as an eldercare option is increasingly gaining acceptance in urban China. Viewing demographic changes include not only the ageing and eldercare patterns but also gender imbalance. This research investigates the eldercare model from older cohabitors’ perspectives, and the intergenerational ‘negotiation’ of care responsibility between these older people and their adult children. To further understand the interactions between the current Chinese eldercare support policies and the ‘cohabiting model’, I chose to use a mix methods case study of the ‘cohabiting model’ in urban residential areas in Beijing. Prior to fieldwork, a quantitative investigation will set up to explore the demographic background and general picture of cohabitation of Chinese elderly couples, to be followed up with three to five months of fieldwork. It will fill the research void and provide a more nuanced, context-sensitive and gender-sensitive understanding of older citizens’ cohabiting eldercare preferences and peer-supported ageing strategies in the Chinese context.