Tuesday, September 3, 2019
Chinese Kinship Systems Essay -- China Chinese Kin Kinship Essays
Chinese Kinship Systems Works Cited Missing It would be impossible to disagree with the statement that Ã¢â¬Å"Chinese kinship is based on male predominanceÃ¢â¬ . In fact this statement may even be under-emphasizing the control and absolute power that males wield across all levels of Chinese society. Of course, where their power initially comes from though, is through the family or termed differently the Ã¢â¬Å"jiaÃ¢â¬ . It is this extended or ideal family that cultivates the consistent patrilineal form of control/descent and dictates that residence in said Ã¢â¬Å"jiaÃ¢â¬ is primarily patrilocal. That being said, what I hope to be able to create over the following pages is a clearer understanding of the ideal (Chinese) system of control. This ideal system,based on the ideal of male predominance, is outlined impeccably in the writings of Baker, Watson and Xiaotong. There are also excellent examples of an ideal Ã¢â¬Å"jiaÃ¢â¬ and its power structure in WolfÃ¢â¬â¢s ethnography, Ã¢â¬Å"The House of LimÃ¢â¬ . But WolfÃ ¢â¬ s ethnography also outlines examples whereby the ideal system of dominance is not always put into practice or is just not as smooth running as the writings of the 3 former anthropologists would have you believe. It is my aim then, to include examples of a patriarchal system encountering problems and realities that are difficult to explain in an Ã¢â¬Å"idealÃ¢â¬ sense.There is little doubt, according to Baker, that the first and foremost aspect to understanding Chinese families and society at large is the importance placed on male relationships and descent that is traced through a male line. In contrast, women in Chinese society were given little thought and even less power. They were to be used as reproducers of the male line and to aid in home/farm labour, apart from this; women had only small amounts of power and responsibility. In fact, the patriarchal system demanded that a wifeÃ¢â¬â¢s only connection with her husbandÃ¢â¬â¢s family be through the husband himself. He r future then, was caught up with his and her sons only, and she is expected Ã¢â¬Å"to see her husbandÃ¢â¬â¢s interests as paramount in importanceÃ¢â¬ (Baker, 1979).Yet, women and childbirth, were essential to the continuation of the patrilineal system, which started with the birth of a son or sons to any kinship system be they peasant or gentry class. It was considered vitally important in Chinese society, that a wife bare a son as soon as possible not only for the... ...cumstances would be in Chieng-cuaÃ¢â¬â¢s position Ã¢â¬âis still alive and now has a son (Lim A-bok) who is contributing a full share to the family budget. Undoubtedly this ambiguity in structure of the family influences the attitudes of Lim A-pou and her sonÃ¢â¬ .This ambiguity was the eventual death of the united Lim family. Walls were mounted, positions dissolved and property/wealth were divided up as equally as possible. It was not though, the death of the patrilineal system. Patrilocal residence would continue for all of the Lim (future) families, ancestral worship would also continue and male dominance and gender inequality would still reign supreme. In fact very little underneath the surface or socially would change at all, the family would remain a residential and economic unit composed primarily of males. And in order to reproduce itself it would still be forced to import women as brides, and dispose of females born into it by marrying them off to other families. F inally, it would continue to lay heavy stress on relationships through males, and tended to play down those through females, while there was an accompanying stress on the importance of men as opposed to women (Baker, 1979).