What is the state of intimate romantic relationships and marriage in urban China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan? Since the 1980’s, the character of intimate life in these urban settings has changed dramatically. While many speculate about the 21st century as Asia’s century, this book turns to the more intimate territory of sexuality and marriage—and observes the unprecedented changes in the law and popular expectations for romantic bonds and the creation of new families.
Wives, Husbands, and Lovers examines how sexual relationships and marriage are perceived and practiced under new developments within each urban location, including the establishment of no fault divorce laws, lower rates of childbearing within marriage, and the increased tolerance for non-marital and non-heterosexual intimate relationships. The authors also chronicle what happens when states remove themselves from direct involvement in some features of marriage but not others. Tracing how the marital “rules of the game” have changed substantially across the region, this book challenges long-standing assumptions that marriage is the universally preferred status for all men and women, that extramarital sexuality is incompatible with marriage, or that marriage necessarily unites a man and a woman. This book illustrates the wide range of potential futures for marriage, sexuality, and family across these societies.
Huang, Hsuan-Ying (2013), Psycho-boom: the rise of psychotherapy in contemporary urban China, Harvard university.
Based on twenty months of fieldwork in Beijing and Shanghai, my dissertation intends to examine the psycho-boom, or the distinct cultural and social formation that the rise of Western psychotherapy has taken in the new hosting environment of urban China. I argue that the psycho-boom, while involving a new psychological modality or a new mental health profession, should not be narrowly conceived of as such. Instead, it is more akin to a popular movement that blends the elements of professional training, popular healing, consumer fad, and entrepreneurial pursuit. The networks and activities associated with psychotherapy training have constituted a massive social world in which various interests and aspirations can be pursued and realized. I further argue that experiences, either individual or interpersonal, have been a critical element of being in this social world. Many people learn to appreciate the psychological dimensions of experience through participating in it, turning one’s involvement with psychotherapy a therapeutic journey in its broadest sense. ; Anthropology
The article explores how people in Kunming have interpreted and acted upon food-related environmental health threats, particularly within the contexts of everyday food shopping. It is argued that an increasingly intensified, delocalized food supply system and a state-led emphasis on individual responsibility and choice have produced growing uncertainties about food. However, the article takes issue with the claim that new forms of risk and institutional changes have produced “individualized” responses, arguing that many of the practices Kunmingers have developed to handle food-related risks and their understandings of what constitutes “safe” food have been developed within the frameworks of family ties and regional cuisine. Further, shoppers and purveyors of food have forged new ties of trust and re-emphasized connections between people, food and place. Nevertheless, concerns about the food supply are a source of discontent which is feeding into wider ambivalences towards modernization. This is particularly acute among the economically disadvantaged.
Special section: “Dying for development”, TheChina Quarterly, vol. 214, June 2013. Table of contents (some articles are in free access)