Co-residence with Married Daughters: Comparative study in Taiwan and Shanghai
Wen-yin Chien(Institute of Sociology, National Taiwan University)
Most researchers have made an effort to explain the normality and find out the typical rule in society. Living with married daughters has been aberrant in the patriarchal culture. Therefore, the issue is still under-explored, let alone a comparative study in this case in Taiwan and China.
A few empirical studies in Taiwan and Shanghai show that different political systems and their concomitant structural circumstances have produced diverse living arrangements of elderly parents. Living with married daughters is more popular in Shanghai than in Taiwan now.
Using qualitative data gathered from interviews of 9 focus groups conducted in 1995(Taiwan) and 1999(Shanghai), this paper examines the attitude towards living with married daughters in these two Chinese societies.
It is concluded that co-residence of elderly parents with married daughters in Taiwan is not supported by cultural values up until now, but most people do not reject the idea absolutely. However, the deviation from patrilocality has less to do with gender consciousness, because living with married daughters is allowed only under unusual circumstance, such as at the absence of a son in the wife’s family. In this sense, patriarchy is affirmed rather than challenged.
Gender consciousness cannot sufficiently explain the increasing rate of co-residence with married daughters in Shanghai, either. In rural Shanghai, parents live with married daughters because they need children’s financial support in the old age and have no sons to live with. In order to gain social recognition for co-residence with married daughters and sons-in-law , the parents in rural Shanghai engage in a special marriage practice “zhao nu xu(招女婿).”. Patriarchy is protected from being completely overthrown by this arrangement.
Co-residence with married daughters, Living arrangements of elderly parents, Comparative study in Taiwan and Shanghai