International Journal of Sociology of the Family

Volume 26, Number 1 (Spring 1996)

The Transition to Marriage in a Minority Community: Some Observations among Punjabi Men in Malaysia
Sunil Kukreja (Department of Sociology, University of Puget Sound, Washington State, USA)
Explores the normative definitions & interpretations shaping the decision to get married among 26 married Punjabi-Hindu men in Malaysia, based on personal sociocultural interaction & interview data gathered in a Punjabi-Hindu community in Kuala Lumpur. Discussion focuses on the interpretive process reflecting the experiences & agencies that shape the normative definitions men adopt as part of their transition to becoming eligible for marriage & more broadly, their worldview about marriage in this minority community. Insight is provided into the interplay between needs/identity & individual goals that mediate the construction of a sense of readiness for marriage among men. [Int. J. Sociol. Fam. 26(1), 1996: 1-11]

Negotiating Sexual Permissiveness in a Contemporary Chinese Setting: Young People in Taipei
Jui Shan Chang (Department of Sociology, University of Tasmania, Australia)
Focus group interviews explore perceptions, interpretations, & attitudes about sexual mores among never-married young adults, ages 17+, in Taipei, Taiwan (N unspecified). Analysis indicates that although men perceive that jeng-tsao-guann (the value of female chastity & virginity) is declining in society, a strong preference for virginal brides still exists. The growing number of nonvirgins has resulted in men forgiving women's past mistakes & granting them a second chance at chastity to show sexual integrity & loyalty. Women noted a generational change in sexual attitudes that perceives the sexual mores in Chinese traditions as too suppressed & recognizes the decline in the value of virginity but not the decline in romanticism or the value of marital relationships. It is argued that the impact of education has additionally caused more career-conscious women to calculate the costs & benefits of engaging in premarital sex. It is concluded that a realignment is underway between the genders regarding their roles in & expectations about intimate relationships, & the legacy of the value of virginity is currently seen as a basis for negotiating forms of intimacy & commitment that share some Western characteristics. [Int. J. Sociol. Fam. 26(1), 1996: 13-35]

Parent Expectations in China
Robert D. Strom, Shirley K. Strom & Qing Xie (Parent Development International, Arizona State University, USA)
Provides information about what Chinese urban parents - the first generation to raise "only" children - perceive as their assets & limitations for the new role via inventory data collected from 150 parents of single children ages 6-13 in the People's Republic of China, with self-impressions examined in relation to parent & child gender. Results indicate that (1) most parents saw themselves as having strengths for raising only children; (2) all parent subgroups identified lack of information about child feelings & perceptions as their greatest limitation; (3) fathers participated in child care more than in the past; (4) mothers considered themselves to be more successful than fathers; (5) parents of sons reported more difficulties & frustrations than parents of daughters; & (6) cross-gender relationship influenced aspects of childrearing, particularly teaching. Implications of the results are discussed. [Int. J. Sociol. Fam. 26(1), 1996: 37-49]

Marriage in Japan, Conformity and Diversity: Comparisons of Japan and United States
Betty B. Lanham (Department of Anthropology, Indiana University, Pennsylvania, USA)
Makes a cross-cultural comparison of the US & Japanese marriage relationship via 1985/86 questionnaire & interview data collected from 75 midwestern Americans & 103 Kansai & Kanto-area Japanese. Results indicate that the external pressures of gossip & strong moral commitment to protecting public image serve as strong deterrents to divorce in Japan. Japanese were twice as likely as Americans to cite a need for increased communication in the marriage. Japanese women cited the desire to work outside the home while US women spoke of more general liberties. It is asserted that the historical difference between the countries' cultures have created different attitudes & tolerance related to interpersonal relationships. [Int. J. Sociol. Fam. 26(1), 1996: 51-65]

Family and Work Roles of Rural Women in a Chinese Brigade
Xiaolin Xie & Raedene Combs (Psychology & Human Ecology, Cameron University, Oklahoma, USA)
Examines family & work roles of rural women, based on 1988/89 & 1993 field studies conducted at a small brigade in AnHui province, the People's Republic of China. Elderly, or first-generation, women chiefly bore children & gained a sense of self-assurance by raising a large family. Today these women cook, raise farm animals, & help care for their grandchildren. Almost 90% of middle-aged women have an absent husband & are responsible not only for child care, but also for cultivating the farmland. With the extra money earned by their husbands outside the farm, these women seek educational advancement for their children. Young women also report absent husbands, necessitating long hours on the farm while also raising children. Younger couples in this brigade consider it important to have more than one child, despite the one-child policy, & younger women are beginning to rebel against the concept of arranged marriages. [Int. J. Sociol. Fam. 26(1), 1996: 67-76]

The Effect of Welfare on the Family Size of Single Female Household Heads
Howard J. Gensler (Department of Accounting, Hong Kong University of Science & Technology, Kowloon)
The effect of welfare on family size of single female-headed households (SFHHs) is estimated via a multiyear cross-sectional pooled dataset derived from the 1979-1990 US Census Bureau's Current Population Survey. Analysis indicates that behavioral impacts from a range of economic variables are consistent in sign with theoretical predictions & are of reasonable magnitudes. A $1,000 increase in the amount of welfare per child can be expected to increase family size by 6.7% for SFHHs. [Int. J. Sociol. Fam. 26(1), 1996: 77-88]

Lone-Parent Families in Cross-Cultural Perspectives: Ethnic and Immigration Issues
Benjamin Schlesinger (Faculty of Social Work, University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada)
A review of cross-cultural research on lone parenthood (LP) reveals the lone parent to be primarily a divorced woman who lives in rented accommodations (usually public housing) & whose main income is social security benefits. The relationship between LP & the feminization of poverty is considered. Implications for immigration & ethnicity are presented, & future research suggestions & intervention strategies are outlined. [Int. J. Sociol. Fam. 26(1), 1996: 89-105]

Kafeneia: A Case Study of Family Alienation
Elias L. Taylor (Department of Sociology, Coppin State College, Maryland, USA)
Offers participant observation data gathered from a case study of a Greek kafeneia (coffeehouse) in order to test the hypothesis that regular patrons of these coffeehouses are alienated from their families. Of the four regular patrons interviewed, one hardly sees his wife, another speaks with his wife less than one hour per week, another spends little time with his wife, & the fourth publicly criticizes his wife. It is asserted that the higher the alienation & personal isolation from family, the more frequently the coffeehouse was visited. It is concluded that a higher level of education, particularly that of the wife, is indicative of less time spent at coffeehouses. [Int. J. Sociol. Fam. 26(1), 1996: 107-114]

Mate Selection: An Analysis of Replies to the Personals
Steven Stack (Wayne State University, Michigan, USA)
Previous research on the personals has been restricted to analysis of the ads placed by the profilers. Here, this methodology is transcended by focusing on the next stage of mate selection - repliers (N = 100 females) - as part of a participant observation project comprising the placing of a singles ad in a large metropolitan newspaper in the Midwest. Analysis indicates that repliers revealed more about themselves & were more nontraditional than profilers (N = 70 females). Further, repliers typically offered financial status is contrary to the status/attractiveness exchange hypothesis. Only weak evidence was found that repliers at a disadvantage on the mate selection market were apt to offer exchange commodities, eg, sexual cues, as compensatory devices, which raises questions about the rationality of exchange. Finally, matching interests, a key variable in the mate selection process, was significantly associated with age, sense of humor, home ownership, & packaging of the reply in romantic stationery. Results are related to the low marriage rates among older singles. [Int. J. Sociol. Fam. 26(1), 1996: 115-130]

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