Chinese Marriages in Transition: From Patriarchy to New Familism (Politics of Marriage and Gender: Global Issues in Local Contexts) (Paperback)

Chinese Marriages in Transition: From Patriarchy to New Familism (Politics of Marriage and Gender: Global Issues in Local Contexts) By Xiaoling Shu, Jingjing Chen Cover Image
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Outdated models of Chinese gender roles, marriage, and family transitions portray these changes as streamlined and unidirectional, from traditional to modern, public to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.

This book is freely available in an open access edition thanks to TOME (Toward an Open Monograph Ecosystem)— a collaboration of the Association of American Universities, the Association of University Presses, and the Association of Research Libraries—and the generous support of the University of California, Davis. Learn more at the TOME website, available at:

Download the open access book here.

About the Author

XIAOLING SHU is a professor of sociology at the University of California, Davis. She is the author of Knowledge Discovery in the Social Sciences: A Data Mining Approach.

JINGJING CHEN is a mixed-methods researcher at Google, who lives in Berkeley, California.

Praise For…

"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

"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
Product Details
ISBN: 9781978804661
ISBN-10: 1978804660
Publisher: Rutgers University Press
Publication Date: September 15th, 2023
Pages: 218
Language: English
Series: Politics of Marriage and Gender: Global Issues in Local Contexts