In this research article, Jinting Wu examines the lived experiences of mothers raising and educating children with disabilities in contemporary China. In the national project of cultivating “quality” citizens, and in the individual pursuit of successful child-rearing, mothers of special children in China are viewed as deficient for conceiving “less-than-perfect” offspring. Drawing on an ethnographic study in a special education school in Guangzhou, Wu explores motherhood's intersections with disability, patriarchy, and state power as the site of social vulnerability and inequality in urban China and highlights the ways special mothers engage in moral experimentation, turning trying circumstances into opportunities to strive and transform. Working hard to be good mothers against many odds, these women are simultaneously the “suffering subjects” and “morally striving subjects,” and their experiences critique as well as shed new light on social justice.

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