Congratulations Professor Xiaoling Shu on Publishing!

Chinese Marriages in Transition

Chinese Marriages in Transition: From Patriarchy to New Familism Book Cover


Outdated models of Chinese gender roles, marriage, and family transitions portray these changes as streamlined and unidirectional, from traditional to modern, public to private, collective to individual. Chinese Marriages in Transition documents the complex, nuanced, and multidirectional nature of these cultural transformations. Using complex and large-scale historical national data as well as comprehensive data from multiple countries, Xiaoling Shu and Jingjing Chen demonstrate that, while the second demographic transition is unfolding in many advanced Western societies, it is not necessarily a normative form of societal transition. Working instead from a framework of "new familism," Shu and Chen show that Chinese new familism consists of both old and new values, including the persistence of some traditional beliefs and practices, accompanied by a transition to modern perceptions of gender, and adaption to some modern forms of family formation.



"Shu and Chen identify a distinctive pattern of 'flexible traditionalism' that reinforces the notion of separate spheres and heightens gender differences in marriage and family life. An important and original book that will further the debate on how and why Chinese women and men are charting a different course than their peers in Europe and North America."


--Deborah S. Davis, Yale University, coeditor of Wives, Husbands, and Lovers: Marriage and Sexuality in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Urban China

"The radical transformations in the Chinese system of gender, family, and marriage do not neatly fit the prevailing theories of modern social change, nor are they outside the global transitions of the last century.  Shu and Chen masterfully integrate China's uniquely "flexible traditionalist" system into that broader story of social change, providing a powerful introduction to Chinese social change for all gender and family scholars."

--Philip Cohen, University of Maryland, author of Enduring Bonds: Inequality, Marriage, Parenting, and Everything Else That Makes Families Great and Terrible


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