Private Life Under Socialism: Love, Intimacy, and Family Change in a Chinese Village, 1949-1999

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Stanford University Press, Mar 12, 2003 - Social Science - 320 pages
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For seven years in the 1970s, the author lived in a village in northeast China as an ordinary farmer. In 1989, he returned to the village as an anthropologist to begin the unparalleled span of eleven years fieldwork that has resulted in this book a comprehensive, vivid, and nuanced account of family change and the transformation of private life in rural China from 1949 to 1999.

The author s focus on the personal and the emotional sets this book apart from most studies of the Chinese family. Yan explores private lives to examine areas of family life that have been largely overlooked, such as emotion, desire, intimacy, privacy, conjugality, and individuality.

He concludes that the past five decades have witnessed a dual transformation of private life: the rise of the private family, within which the private lives of individual women and men are thriving.

 

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Private life under socialism: love, intimacy, and family change in a Chinese village, 1949-1999

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Hoping to understand the development since the 1980s of "an extreme form of egotism that justifies individual incivility," Yan conducted extensive field research over ten years in the Chinese ... Read full review

Contents

Political Economy
17
Youth Autonomy and Romance in Courtship
42
Tables
47
Sex Intimacy and the Language of Love
64
Gender Dynamics and the Triumph of Conjugal Power
86
Domestic Space and the Quest for Privacy
112
The Politics of Family Property
140
Elderly Support and the Crisis of Filial Piety
162
Birth Control and the Making of a New Fertility Culture
190
and the Uncivil Individual
217
Character List
237
Bibliography
267
Index
283
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About the author (2003)

Yunxiang Yan is Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of California, Los Angeles. He is the author of The Flow of Gifts: Reciprocity and Social Networks in a Chinese Village (Stanford, 1996).

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