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Son Preference Reconfigured? A Qualitative Study of Migration and Social Change in Four Chinese Villages

Eklund, Lisa LU (2015) In The China Quarterly 224. p.1026-1047
Abstract
Drawing from ethnographic data from 48 households in four villages in rural Anhui, this study explores how two practices known for upholding son preference are affected by rural–urban out-migration, with a particular focus on the division of labour in agricultural work and patrilocality. The study deploys the concepts of an intergenerational contract and the “unsubstitutability” of sons and finds that a weakening of the intergenerational contract can take place without substantially challenging the unsubstitutability of sons. The study concludes that although male out-migration undermines the argument that sons are needed to secure male manual labour in family farming, the vital role of male labour as a rural livelihood strategy largely... (More)
Drawing from ethnographic data from 48 households in four villages in rural Anhui, this study explores how two practices known for upholding son preference are affected by rural–urban out-migration, with a particular focus on the division of labour in agricultural work and patrilocality. The study deploys the concepts of an intergenerational contract and the “unsubstitutability” of sons and finds that a weakening of the intergenerational contract can take place without substantially challenging the unsubstitutability of sons. The study concludes that although male out-migration undermines the argument that sons are needed to secure male manual labour in family farming, the vital role of male labour as a rural livelihood strategy largely persists. Moreover, although the study identifies migration-induced exceptions, patrilocality remains the main organizing principle for social and economic life for both male and female migrants. Hence, the study finds little support for the prospect that migration is attenuating son preference in rural China. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Division of labour, Rural China, Patrilocality, Migration, Son preference, Intergenerational contract, Sociology
in
The China Quarterly
volume
224
pages
1026 - 1047
publisher
Cambride University Press, Cambridge
external identifiers
  • wos:000366198200008
  • scopus:84949324229
ISSN
1468-2648
DOI
10.1017/S0305741015001198
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
321e105a-148f-4ecf-ad88-76a732af64ae (old id 8084533)
alternative location
http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0305741015001198
date added to LUP
2015-10-27 11:41:31
date last changed
2017-09-19 15:21:28
@article{321e105a-148f-4ecf-ad88-76a732af64ae,
  abstract     = {Drawing from ethnographic data from 48 households in four villages in rural Anhui, this study explores how two practices known for upholding son preference are affected by rural–urban out-migration, with a particular focus on the division of labour in agricultural work and patrilocality. The study deploys the concepts of an intergenerational contract and the “unsubstitutability” of sons and finds that a weakening of the intergenerational contract can take place without substantially challenging the unsubstitutability of sons. The study concludes that although male out-migration undermines the argument that sons are needed to secure male manual labour in family farming, the vital role of male labour as a rural livelihood strategy largely persists. Moreover, although the study identifies migration-induced exceptions, patrilocality remains the main organizing principle for social and economic life for both male and female migrants. Hence, the study finds little support for the prospect that migration is attenuating son preference in rural China.},
  author       = {Eklund, Lisa},
  issn         = {1468-2648},
  keyword      = {Division of labour,Rural China,Patrilocality,Migration,Son preference,Intergenerational contract,Sociology},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {1026--1047},
  publisher    = {Cambride University Press, Cambridge},
  series       = {The China Quarterly},
  title        = {Son Preference Reconfigured? A Qualitative Study of Migration and Social Change in Four Chinese Villages},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0305741015001198},
  volume       = {224},
  year         = {2015},
}