Family in Russia and China: between Reforms and Traditions

Family in Russia and China:
between Reforms and Traditions

Klupt M.A.

Dr. Sci. (Econ.), Professor, St. Petersburg State University of Economics, St. Petersburg, Russia

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For citation:

Klupt M.A. Family in Russia and China: between Reforms and Traditions. Sotsiologicheskie issledovaniya [Sociological Studies]. 2019. No 5. P. 65-75


The aim of the paper is to describe, compare and explain phenomena, which arise from interaction of the market reforms and traditional family values in both Russia and China. Discussion on application the individualization thesis to relations between family and individual in the present-day China is scrutinized. Concept of Neo-Familsm, which provides explanation of how market innovations and family traditions intertwin in China, is considered. The neo-traditional tendencies in both Russian official family doctrine and mass consciousness are analyzed. It is argued that these tendencies are caused by both dissatisfaction with the social outputs of the market reforms of the 1990s and grass-root rejection of some Western patterns in the domain of sexuality, marriage and family. At the same time, the shift to neo-traditionalism is mainly ideational phenomenon because of increasing uniformity of the spouses’ household duties in the everyday family life. The marriage and divorce rates in both Russia and China are significantly higher than in Western countries. It shows that although registered marriage continues to be an ideal in both Russia and China, the conjugation of the spouses’ interests remains as thorny as in Western societies. It is concluded that theories, focused on the institutional peculiarities of Non-Western societies, provide a more reliable base to explain family change in contemporary Russia and China than unilinear and universalistic conceptions.

family; Russia; China; Neo-Familism; reforms; traditional values


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Content No 5, 2019