Marriage in Cosmopolitan China
Professor Deborah S. Davis (Professor of Sociology, Yale University)
July 7, 2011
5:00 pm (Reception starts at 4:30 pm)
MW103, Meng Wah Complex, The University of Hong Kong
In the past 30 years, the economies, politics, and cultural repertoires in such cosmopolitan Chinese cities as Hong Kong, Taipei, Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou have directly and indirectly altered the character and quality of marriage for both men and women. Procedurally the greatest shift has been the introduction of no-fault unilateral divorce. Parallel but not entirely coterminous temporally are new sexual norms that have de-stigmatized non-marital sexual relations. In addition the strict implementation of the one-child policy in urban China and rapidly declining birthrates in Hong Kong and Taipei have created modal households where parents outnumber children and weakened the links between procreation and sexuality within marriage. Drawing on papers from a recent HKIHSS conference on the same subject, Professor Davis will consider broader implications of the increasing differences in how men and women define a “good marriage.”
Deborah S. Davis, Professor of Sociology at Yale University. Primary teaching interests are inequality and stratification, contemporary Chinese society, and methods of fieldwork. Davis is currently Associate Editor of The Journal of Asian Studies and in 2004 she helped launch the Yale China Health Journal. She has served as Director of Academic Programs at the Yale Center for the Study of Globalization, Chair of the Department of Sociology, and Chair of the Council on East Asian Studies. Author or editor of eight books, past publications have analyzed the politics of the Cultural Revolution, Chinese family life, pension and welfare policy, consumer culture, property rights, social stratification and occupational mobility. In 2009 Stanford University Press published Creating Wealth and Poverty in Post-Socialist China, co-edited with Wang Feng. She is completing a monograph entitled A Home of Their Own, a study of the social consequences of the privatization of real estate in urban China. A graduate of Wellesley College, Davis received a Masters degree in East Asian Studies from Harvard and a PhD in Sociology from Boston University. She has been on the faculty at Yale University since 1978.