首页 | 学科·学界 | 社会现象 | 文章·争鸣 | 读书 | 学者家园 | 文献服务 | 数据服务 | 中心网刊 | Blog | WIKI | 网上调查 | 社会论坛
  当前位置:首页 >> 读书 >> Re-Drawing Boundaries: Work, Households, and Gender in China >> 正文
分类导读
社会学
人类学
社会工作
社会科学综合
14. Reconfiguring Shanghai Households

图书名称:Re-Drawing Boundaries: Work, Households, and Gender in China
图书作者:Barbara Entwisle and Gail E. Henderson    ISBN:
出版社:Berkeley: University of California Press    出版日期:2000年

Deborah S. Davis

In cross-national research on how economic development alters household structures and family life, comparisons of size and membership are routinely given pride of place. Thirty years ago when the modernization paradigm dominated, scholars assumed that rapid industrialization and urbanization would produce smaller and less complex households with weaker intergenerational ties, especially between men and their parents (Goode 1963; also see Levy 1949). When sons and daughters left farming for jobs in industry, it was presumed that they would increasingly choose spouses without parental intervention, establish new households independent of the older generation, and have more egalitarian relationships between spouses. With better health care, and higher levels of female education, marital fertility would decline and as a result households would become smaller as well as less complex in terms of generational composition. In short, economic development would promote nuclearization of households and weaken the dominance of patrilateral allegiances.

Subsequent research has challenged the logic and universality of these causal links, documenting an independent effect for cultural norms, inheritance practices, and welfare policies (Anderson and Allen 1984; Angel and Tienda 1982; Davis and Harrell 1993; Elman and Uhlenberg 1995; Hajnal 1982; Kamo and Zhou 1994; Kanjanapan 1989; Loefgren 1984). Longitudinal ethnographic research on household formation in a variety of cultural settings further challenged the causal model of the early modernization paradigm, which had treated households as stable entities with single preferences. Instead, this often explicitly feminist scholarship (Thorne 1982; Yanagisako 1984) demonstrated that individual members of a single household could hold contrary preferences and that therefore households should be approached as the outcomes of negotiations among men and women at different stages of the life course over how to configure (or reconfigure) household membership. When cultural expectations about coresidence were uniform and rigid, or when housing shortages curtailed division or expansion, there could be little variation. But even under conditions of outwardly homogeneous units, these authors urged scholars never to ignore the multivocal reality of household formation. Within this perspective, which is also incorporated into the analysis of this chapter, households are treated as bounded but dynamic entities, ever subject to reconfiguration.

In a society such as contemporary China, where the preexisting economic certainties have been “under siege” for more than a decade, household membership is especially vulnerable to renegotiation, and thus examination of who moves and who stays offers an ideal opportunity to observe how economic reform has altered underlying normative logics. Focused on the household arrangements of 75 Shanghai female retirees and their 157 adult married children, this short chapter cannot possibly address all the normative shifts initiated by the upheavals of the Chinese political economy. However, by illustrating how urbanites at two different stages of the life course changed their housing arrangements in an era when the institutions of state socialism conceded considerable moral legitimacy and material resources to the calculus of market mechanisms, one can specify some of the consequences of market reforms for the norms of urban household formation. In particular, by placing analysis of household formation in the context of the collapse of many public welfare supports and increased privatization of home ownership, the experiences of these women and their adult children illustrate how China's shift away from a planned economy dominated by bureaucratic authority and a socialist redistributive ideology has inadvertently revived pre-Communist norms for division of family property that favor parent-son ties over those with daughters.

CHINESE URBAN HOUSEHOLDS IN THE 1980s AND 1990s

Over the decade of the 1980s, the Chinese government pursued reform policies that systematically affected the environment within which urban residents established and reconfigured their households. Although the one-child policy is most frequently discussed, the demographic changes induced by the one-child quota are only one component. Equally important have been the policies to marketize the “public goods regime” (Solinger 1995a), within which most urban residents established homes and balanced household budgets. Most critical for understanding the norms of household formation is the decision to recommodify housing and encourage private home ownership.

During the 1970s, urban housing stock was treated as a noncommercial welfare item, distributed by city or enterprise bureaucrats to needy and worthy employees and city residents. In this environment, Chinese urban residents confronted severe structural constraints when forming or reconfiguring their households. Chronic shortages in the absence of a housing market made apartments a scarce and highly desired welfare item available only through bureaucratic queues. Intrusive police controls over residential moves and a national system of household registration created other rigidities and minimized the role of individual preference. In addition, Cultural Revolution policies such as relocating 17 million urban high school graduates to the countryside and reducing access to post-secondary education severely curtailed the financial independence and occupational mobility of young adults approaching marriage age. As a result, young urban couples in the 1970s and early 1980s were more dependent on their parents at the time of their weddings than young couples had been during the 1950s. Few had access to housing on the basis of their own work records, and thus many had no alternative but to crowd into an already existing home headed by the parents or grandparents of the bride or groom. By the late 1970s, housing shortages had become so acute, and young couples stood so low on enterprise housing queues, that the percentage of multigeneration households had begun to increase after two decades of decline (Shen and Yang 1995; Tsui 1989; Whyte 1990, 1993). External constraints were no less decisive at later points in the family life cycle. Once adequately sheltered, many urbanites “aged in place” rather than relocating in response to changing economic status. For those already living with members of the older generation, there was no need to merge two separate households to provide care for the older generation because in most cases both generations had already lived for decades in a multigeneration household wih a shared budget (Davis-Friedmann 1991).

Macrolevel constraints on urban households changed with accelerated marketization of the Chinese political economy after 1990. Urban residents approached housing decisions with new resources and expectations. They simultaneously entered uncertain terrain, where individual claims of household membership or family property would be more contested than in the preceding decades, when the morality and logic of a public goods regime prevailed. Without the same level of intervention and censorship by the party-state over personal decisions, individuals would be freer to act on their preferences. They would also be required to be more entrepreneurial and financially astute.

In the years just prior to my Shanghai interviews, housing reform accelerated. Communist orthodoxy, which had denigrated individual property ownership as bourgeois and antisocialist, became increasingly irrelevant, and even official publications encouraged residents to purchase their homes. In 1994 the municipal government began to press hard for Shanghai to follow the Singapore model of real estate provident funds, and by December of that year one-third of the public housing stock had been sold off to current tenants (Renmin Ribao 14 September 1995, p. 1). In 1995, the national government identified 35 cities (including Shanghai) where all new employees would be required to deposit 5 percent of their monthly wage into a housing fund (Renmin Ribao 29 April 1995, p. 2; 20 June 1995, p. 2; 10 August 1995, p. 2).

Weakening of the former public goods regime, however, is not equivalent to its immediate demise, and urban China is a case in point. As of 1995, the majority of urban residents still qualified for some type of medical coverage, unemployment insurance programs cushioned the blow of rising unemployment, and most who held official urban household registration lived in heavily subsidized housing (Wang Feng 1997). Overall, Chinese urban residents therefore lived within a more comprehensive social welfare regime than that of the pre-Communist 1940s. But the certainties, as well as the rigidities and shortages, of the collectivist years could no longer be assumed, and urbanites of all ages had entered a new era, where each individual and family would be required to take greater responsibility for short-term and long-term security.

The case materials used in this chapter are drawn primarily from one working-class neighborhood in the city of Shanghai where the author has been interviewing a group of middle-aged and elderly women since 1987. The initial group of 100 respondents was selected randomly from neighborhood women born between 1925 and 1935. In 1995, an additional 19 women born between 1936 and 1945 were interviewed in order to gain insight into a broader range of historical experience.[1] In the first interviews, I focused on a comparison of the work histories of the parents and adult children. Beginning in 1990, I gave equal attention to gathering current and retrospective data on the marital experience and residential moves of the mothers and their adult sons and daughters. Interview materials from one neighborhood in Shanghai cannot resolve the issue of national trends, but they can refine our understanding of how marketization—and especially the privatization of home ownership—has altered the context in which housing decisions are made. In particular, longitudinal family life histories highlight the way in which individual family members strategize to realize personal preferences and how commodification of property has placed questions about membership in a “private family estate” at the heart of decisions about coresidence.

HOUSING ARR ANGEMENTS OF SHANGHAI ELDERLY AND THEIR SONS AND DAUGHTERS

For both parents and married sons and daughters in my sample, average household size decreased and membership became less extended between

 
<COL align=left> <COL align=right> <COL align=right> <COL align=right> <COL align=right> <COL align=right> <COL align=right> <COL align=right> <COL align=middle>
TABLE 14.1 Percentage Distribution of Household Size among Shanghai Respondents
  Number of Members Average Size (% with 2 Generations of Married Adults)
  1 2 3 4 5 6 7+
SOURCE: Author's interviews in 1990 and 1995.
Mothers                
 At Marriage (N = 75) 5 42 7 8 7 0 21 3.88 (47)
 1990 (N = 75) 0 11 21 16 35 9 8 4.41 (59)
 1995 (N = 75) 0 13 28 19 29 7 3 4.05 (53)
Adult Married Sons                
 At Marriage (N = 68) 0 35 4 18 18 13 9 3.96 (62)
 1990 (N = 67) 2 16 33 5 30 6 9 4.08 (46)
 1995 (N = 75) 3 15 41 8 20 7 7 3.88 (41)
Adult Married Daughters                
 At Marriage (N = 67) 6 51 13 19 4 4 1 2.85 (46)
 1990 (N = 90) 0 9 41 14 28 1 7 3.97 (47)
 1995 (N = 95) 0 8 60 13 16 2 1 3.46 (30)
1990 and 1995. For mothers, average size fell from 4.4 to 4.1, and the fraction living with a married child fell from 59 to 53 percent (see table 14.1). For married sons, average size fell from 4.1 to 3.9, and the fraction living with a parent or in-law fell from 46 to 41 percent. For married daughters, average household size declined from 4.0 to 3.5, and the fraction living with a parent or in-law fell from 47 to 30 percent. As in 1990, if married children lived with a parent or in-law, the most common arrangement was parents sharing a home with a married son (see table 14.2).

A further comparison of how members of these families moved among types of households between 1990 and 1995 speaks to the relative stability of each type of household at different stages of the life course. Among mothers, there was a slight increase in the percentage living with a married son (from 43 to 46%) and a slight decrease in the likelihood of living either in a nuclear household without married children (from 35 to 30%) or in multigeneration home with a married daughter (from 13 to 9%) (see table 14.2). For mothers, the most stable as well as most typical arrangement was coresidence with a married son. Of the 32 women living in such households in 1990, 81 percent continued with this form, although not necessarily with the same married son (see table 14.3). Six percent of mothers who shared quarters with a married son in 1990 switched by 1995 to live with a married daughter, and nine percent no longer lived with any married children.

<COL align=left> <COL align=left> <COL align=left> <COL align=left> <COL align=left>
TABLE 14.2 Percentage Distribution of Household Forms among Shanghai Respondents
  Coresidence with Married
  Nuclear Son Daughter Other
SOURCE: Author's interviews June and July 1995.
Mother (N = 75)        
 At marriage 45 35 6 14
 1990 35 43 13 9
 1995 30 46 9 15
  Coresidence with Parent(s)
  Nuclear His Her Other
Married Sons (N = 65)        
 At marriage 38 54 7 1
 1990 48 46 5 2
 1995 54 37 6 3
Married Daughters (N = 92)        
 At marriage 34 53 8 1
 1990 51 39 9 1
 1995 71 25 4 0

Between 1990 and 1995 adult sons and daughters shifted toward nuclear households (for sons from 48 to 54%, and for daughters from 51 to 71%) (see table 14.2). The nuclear arrangement was also especially stable (see table 14.3). Among the 31 married sons who had established a nuclear household in 1990, 90 percent remained in such homes. For the 47 married daughters in nuclear households, the fraction was 96 percent.

Most unstable were households of mothers and married daughters. Only 40 percent of such 1990 arrangements among mothers and 38 percent among daughters endured until July 1995. By contrast, between 1990 and 1995, 81 percent of mothers and 77 percent of married sons continued to live in parent-son households (see table 14.3). Although the small sample size does not justify definitive conclusions, I should note that this greater instability of households with married daughters is consonant with previous fieldwork I did in several Chinese cities between 1979 and 1988 (Davis, 1989, 1992, 1993; Davis-Friedmann, 1991). Parents lived with married daughters primarily when they had no sons, or in times of crisis.[2] Additional support for continued preference for residence with married sons is found among the housing arrangements of the Shanghai respondents' children who married after 1989. Among these 21 newlyweds, 12 shared quarters

 
<COL align=left> <COL align=right> <COL align=right> <COL align=right> <COL align=right>
TABLE 14.3 Changes in Household Forms of Shanghai Respondents and Their Adult Children between 1990 and 1995
1995 Household Form (%)
  Coresidence with Married
  Nuclear Son Daughter Other
SOURCE: Author's Interviews June and July 1995.
1990 Household Form Mothers (N = 75)        
 Nuclear (N = 26) 58 19 4 19
 Married son (N = 32) 9 81 6 3
 Married daughter (N = 10) 10 300 40 20
 Other (N = 7) 43 14 43
  Coresidence with Parent(s)
  Nuclear His Hers Other
Adult married sons (N = 65)        
 Nuclear (N = 31) 90 3 0 6
 His parent(s) (N = 30) 20 77 1 0
 Her parent(s) (N = 3) 0 33 66 0
 Other (N = 1) 100 0 0 0
Adult married daughters (N = 92)        
 Nuclear (N = 47) 96 2 2 0
 His parent(s) (N = 36) 42 58 0 0
 Her parent(s) (N = 8) 50 13 38 0
 Other (N = 1) 100 0 0 0
with the parents of the husband, and another three moved to apartments set up by the husband's family. Only one new couple moved to the home of the bride, and the extremely unusual circumstances of this family underline the widespread preference for households with married sons in contemporary Shanghai. In this home, the parent was a widow whose only child (a son) had died during the Cultural Revolution. To avoid an old age as a childless widow, the woman adopted a teenage niece from the countryside in the early eighties and sponsored her through technical school. In 1990, when this young woman married a youngest son with two older married brothers, he joined his bride in the apartment of her adopted mother. In 1995, they maintained a four-person household of three generations and were making plans to purchase the apartment in the name of the niece and her husband. Thus, these Shanghai interview materials indicate that urban residents in the mid-nineties established coresidence with a married daughter primarily in situations of crisis, or where either generation had no viable alternative.[3]

HOUSEHOLD RECONFIGUR ATION UNDER AN ALTERED PROPERTY REGIME

Analyses of household arrangements in China before 1949, or in Taiwan after 1945, frequently put considerations about the role of joint property ownership among coparcener males at the heart of any explanation of household division or reconfiguration (Cohen 1970, 1976; Greenhalgh 1985; Lavely 1990). Essential to these studies are the assumptions that (1) land and housing are commodities subject to division among all male descendants and (2) savings and investments are the primary means by which family assets are accumulated. However, after 1950 urban family members on the Chinese mainland established their households under a fundamentally different property regime.

For residents of Chinese cities, housing was a welfare good secured by virtue of workplace seniority where “rights of occupancy” had replaced “rights of ownership” (Bian et al. 1996). To improve their housing situation, individuals strategized to make themselves worthy of consideration in the eyes of housing committee bureaucrats. Wealth or high income potential had relatively little impact, and savings accounts, banks, real-estate speculators, or mortgage companies played no role in allocating housing. Instead, in this decommodified and noncommercial housing environment, priority went to those living under the worst conditions of crowding. Those of highest status were often housed in a different category of residences, but within an occupational category, the same criteria of need—as opposed to the ability to pay—were decisive.

At the death of the individual to whom the right of occupancy had been awarded, the surviving spouse and coresident children could continue to occupy the apartment. In some cases (e.g., if a coresident child worked in the same enterprise as the deceased parent), headship was formally transferred to one survivor. In contrast to how family property was treated in pre 1949 China or contemporary Taiwan, however, questions of equal partition of family assets among all children (or all sons) were not central.[4] Legally there was no distinction between coresident daughters and sons. Moreover, nonresident sons had absolutely no claim on the “right of occupancy.” Thus without making it an explicit policy goal, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)'s program to decommodify urban real estate after 1949 had three major consequences for Chinese family life. First, it suppressed rivalry among brothers at the time of a parent's death or a son's marriage. Second, it weakened the role of property considerations in defining relationships between parents and their adult daughters. Third, it strengthened the identification of a household as a conjugal unit where obligations between husband and wife were more decisive than those between parents and son.

Following the Second National Housing Reform conference in October 1991 (Renmin Ribao 8 Oct. 1991, 12 Oct. 1991), however, pre-Communist definitions of family property rights again became salient as new rules for ownership and tenancy defined the financial consequences of coresidence. In the short term, commodification bolstered the financial position of parents near or at retirement whose stagnant wages or uncertain pensions had begun to put them in a more dependent financial position visà-vis their adult children (Ikels 1996). It also created potentially divisive claims on the parental home among siblings, especially between those residing with parents and those who were not. In addition, the return of private ownership of homes appears to have increased incentives for parents to privilege relationships with sons over daughters.

Nearly half of my Shanghai respondents purchased their homes between 1993 and 1995. Among their children over age 35, a quarter also entered the property market. By contrast, among the recently married children in their twenties and early thirties, only 3 percent of sons and 6 percent of daughters had purchased a home. This could be a life cycle phenomenon, but it also reflects recent changes. Respondents reported that family conversations about the costs and benefits of ownership had generated many hours of heated debate and lengthy consultation with a wide range of relatives and friends. Several cadres as well as respondents told me that in the year prior to the July 1995 interview, they had found it impossible to finish a single meal without at least once deliberating the pros and cons of buying an apartment. Because in 1995 I only interviewed mothers, I have heard only one side of what is a very complex and multivocal debate. Nevertheless, when combined with the data on shifts in household size and composition (shown earlier), the interviews consistently suggest that the economic reforms have directly challenged inheritance norms of the socialist era. In particular, during the initial wave of privatization, it appears that the most immediate impact has been a return of the ideal of a patrilineal “estate” and heightened tensions among brothers and between parents and sons.

As in Taiwan families where each son is a coparcener, a primary tension is when a son will take outhis share. In Shanghai, conflicts also arise overwhich son (or sons) will be able to purchase the parents' apartment. It appeared some respondents were postponing buying their apartments precisely to avoid this crisis, although what they actually said was that they were waiting for a higher quality place. However, because the price of these two-room apartments (with bathroom and kitchen) for newly retired workers with forty years of seniority was only 4,500 yuan (or less than the cost of one highquality Japanese air conditioner), I was not convinced that financial calculations alone justified the decision to delay home purchase. Rather, a primary concern was how to achieve equitable division of a family “estate” after two generations had matured and established households during 40 years of collective ownership. Two cases of mothers living in joint households in 1995, whom I reinterviewed in July 1996, suggest how efforts to be equitable to all sons, previously calculated by giving each son a comparable wedding feast and set of home furnishings at marriage, now centered on questions about equitable division of the parental home.

Case 1

This respondent lived with three married sons, their wives, and their children. The family occupied two apartments, maintained a joint budget, and ate together as a household of 11 until January 1995, when the second son and his wife set up a separate kitchen. In fall 1995, the mother of the second son's wife obtained a one-room apartment from her work unit to solve the housing problem of her daughter. The allocation of this new room, however, did not resolve the squabbles over housing. Instead, it exacerbated them.

The plan of the second son and his wife was for his parents—my respondent and her husband—to move to the one-room flat obtained by the wife's mother and allow him to buy the two-room apartment for his wife and son. My respondent was completely in distress. The apartment offered by the daughter-in-law's mother was smaller than what she and her husband currently occupied, and the new place required major renovation to be habitable. But the main conflict was not about the young couple leaving or the expense of setting up a new household. Rather, it was about the son's claim on his parents' home. As the respondent explained, first in measured tones, and then through tears:

If we move to the little apartment in Pudong, then each son would have his own place. My eldest son has just been promised by his employer that next year when the unit allocates new apartments he will get a new three-room place, which he can first rent and then purchase. When my eldest and his family move out, my third son who now lives with my eldest in the apartment we bought two years ago would have his own place. Then if we move out, our second boy can buy this place we now share.

I want the best for each son; equal shares for each. But to move is really a hardship for me. I will be far from my children. What if I need their help? What if they need our help? Now, for example, during summer vacation I care and feed all the children of my three sons every day. How can I do this in one room in Pudong? Moreover, this new place would belong to my second daughter-in-law's family, not to my husband and me. I don't feel comfortable relying on them for our housing. And finally, it is in a transitional neighborhood, where people live while waiting to be moved to new housing when their old place has been condemned, so the quality of services and amenities is far inferior to what we have here. We estimate that to make it livable would cost 20,000 yuan. But my second son and his wife keep pushing me to move. I want to be fair with each son, but I don't want to move to Pudong.

Case 2

This respondent lived with her husband, two married sons, their wives, and their children in a two-room apartment. Two married daughters also lived in Shanghai. The elder daughter maintained a household of four consisting of herself, her father-in-law, husband, and son. The younger lived in a private home owned by her husband and his mother, but maintained a three-person nuclear household with her husband and young son. Neither the respondent nor her sons had purchased their current apartment because of the terrible conflict between the two brothers. Initially sibling conflict was accentuated by the police controls over migration into Shanghai from the nearby suburbs, but now issues of equal rights to family property had also become central to the controversy.

In 1979, the respondent moved to the apartment with her husband and their three youngest children. The eldest daughter was then working in the countryside. In 1980, the eldest girl came back to Shanghai and rejoined her parent's home. In 1983, she married and moved to live with her husband's parents. In 1985, the second daughter married and moved to live with her husband and his mother. Later that year, the youngest son, who had just finished technical high school, was assigned a job outside Shanghai and moved to a factory dorm in a suburban town. In 1987, the eldest son married and brought his wife to live with the respondent and her husband, furnishing one room in the apartment as his conjugal space but maintaining a shared household budget.

In 1990, the younger son married a suburban girl who worked in his factory. They quit their factory jobs and came to Shanghai to try their luck as peddlers. The parents built a small sleeping loft for themselves in the corridor and vacated the second room in order to create a separate conjugal space for the second son and his new wife. In 1995, when I first interviewed them, they maintained an unhappy household of three married couples and two small grandsons. The younger son and his wife had become long-distance traders of duck-down quilts, spending several weeks each month away from Shanghai. Their TV, refrigerator, and other wedding furnishings remained in the respondent'sapartment, and they and their son continued to consider it their home. The crowding was intense, and the elder daughter-in-law was especially unhappy, complaining constantly to my respondent that the second daughter-in-law and her child had no right to live in the apartment because neither had a Shanghai city registration.[5] Obviously, she could not make the same argument against her brother-in-law, who was officially registered as a member of this household.

In 1995, when I interviewed this woman, she repeatedly broke down in tears during the interview, and her entire body was covered with an intense rash and welts that resulted from sleeping in a mosquito-infested alley to escape the intense heat of the sleeping loft. The only strategy she was pursuing to resolve the housing crisis was to file an appeal with her husband's former employer requesting a second apartment to which they and the younger son could move on the grounds of extreme hardship. But no one at the husband's old unit would acknowledge their claim of hardship because according to the official household registry, which did not count the younger daughter-in-law and grandson as permanent members of the household, they were a household of two married couples in two separate rooms. They therefore did not meet the criteria for excessive crowding. In May 1996, unable to handle the constant bickering, the family split into three conjugal units by creating three kitchens in the 26-square-meter apartment.

When I reinterviewed this respondent in July 1996, she told me that her younger married daughter was urging her parents to join her household and leave the two brothers to divide the apartment (which presumably the parents would buy and give to the two sons). The respondent's husband absolutely refused because he considered it a terrible loss of face to live with a married daughter and to live in a house owned by his daughter's motherin-law. The respondent was so distraught that she even considered leaving her husband and joining her daughter. But if she took this option, she worried there would be no one to feed her husband: “We have ‘split the stoves’ so no one can cook for him except me.”

LIMITATIONS OF THE SAMPLE AND THE SPECIAL CASE OF SHANGHAI

The interview materials cited here cannot represent national trends. Interviewing only women born before 1946, the voices I “heard” were those of women of a particular generation and a specific stage of the life course. Further, although the initial group was drawn randomly and provided equal percentages of households headed by male professionals, routine whitecollar workers, and manual workers, by 1995 a disproportionate number of economically successful households had moved out of the neighborhood, and a disproportionate number of the poorest women had died.[6] The 19 new respondents added in 1995 matched the 56 “survivors” in terms of husband's occupation, but were better educated and had on average one less child. They were drawn by convenience rather than randomly and did not include as high a percentage of families in acute financial or psychological distress as in the initial sample. The small size of the sample is also a limitation. Finally, all respondents were drawn from one housing estate built in 1978–79 on the western fringe of the city.[7] These interviews therefore disproportionately represent the post-1949 working class and do not capture the experiences of upper-level cadres, descendants of the pre-1949 middle classes, or the millions who have migrated to Shanghai from rural China since 1980.[8] Also because all respondents lived in a relatively new housing estate, the physical conditions of their homes were above average. As a result, it is possible that these women and their coresident children may have been less likely to reconfigure their household or relocate to a new home than the majority of Shanghai residents.

In addition to these special characteristics of my respondents, I need to note several ways in which Shanghai itself may foster higher than average levels of immobility. Before 1949, Shanghai was China's most modern city in terms of urban infrastructure. Through the mid-1970s Shanghai maintained its premier position. It generated a disproportionate share of industrial output and goods for export, and per capita income and quality of consumer goods were superior to those in other cities. A home in Shanghai was highly desirable. Once settled in the city, very few residents sought to relocate. Thus my respondents and their children may represent an especially “inert” population for whom the new freedom and affluence of the reform era generated rising expectations for comfort but not the incentive to relocate residentially.

There is also a demographic peculiarity of Shanghai that should be noted. While all other metropolitan populations had increased in each decade after 1949, due to a policy of relocating coastal experts to the interior, Shanghai's population actually began to shrink in absolute numbers as early as the mid-sixties and did not regain its 1965 size until 1984. Nevertheless despite this distinctive and unique pattern of negative population growth between 1965 and 1983, the total number of Shanghai households steadily increased over these two decades.[9] These macro-demographic trends suggest that in Shanghai the drive to establish new households and create officially recognized boundaries around small conjugal units may be stronger and more persistent than in other cities of China.

CONCLUSION

The recommodification of residential space has challenged the norms and strategies Shanghai families pursued in forming households during the first four decades after 1949. Between 1956 and 1990, neither parents nor adult children imagined a situation in which the parents' home would become a valuable financial asset that could generate income or provide a sizable inheritance. Individual family members strategized about who should live with whom, and access to space controlled by parents could create tension among closely spaced siblings, all of whom were eager to marry and start a new family. To deal with these rival claims on living space (usually controlled by the father's employer), parents attempted to handle each child's housing crisis in turn. If there were no way to secure a new room or second apartment at the time of a son's marriage, married sons would live with the parents (as in cases 1 and 2). Similarly, parents would shelter a daughter and her husband if they had nowhere else to go, but as the statistical frequencies indicate, coresidence with sons was more acceptable and enduring. Overtime, urban multigeneration households were knit together by a combination of self-interest and affection. Issues of property ownership were generally irrelevant because legally most parents only retained “rights of occupancy.”

After 1991, parents and children confronted a more commodified and monetized environment in calculating the costs and benefits of different household arrangements. Apartments to which employees had secured “rights of occupancy” became available for purchase to current household heads, with the option to lease or sell at market price after five years. Although Shanghai residents had lived in a noncommodified property regime for almost half a century, most quickly grasped the value of assuming ownership. However, the norms for establishing the claims between coresident and non-coresident children, were not immediately clear.

Prior to the sudden commodification of residential real estate, Shanghai residents already strongly favored coresidence of parents and married sons over coresidence of parents and married daughters. However, as housing became increasingly commodified, coresidence could be equated with coownership. As a result, the emerging property regime had the potential to resuscitate patrilineal norms of inheritance, a change that may prove as consequential for understanding contemporary norms of household formation as the revival of more general “laws of the market.”

Twenty years after the death of Mao Zedong, some elements of the command economy continued to define parameters of household life. In 1994 only one-third of urban homes had been commodified; two-thirds continued to be rental units allocated through workplace politics at prices far below cost. Individuals seeking better accommodation therefore made claims by invoking socialist principles of need; but when these same people dealt with conflicts over commodified real estate, an older vocabulary of patrilineal inheritance and coparcener sons surfaced. By the mid-1990s, macrolevel demographic and economic trends had only partially reshaped the financial and legal environment in which urban Chinese establish their homes, and because the process was extremely dynamic, it is premature to identify long-term consequences. However, in the short term, one trend is evident: in a more marketized urban economy, the norms of patrilineal succession emerge as a salient parameter of coresidence and the normative boundaries of household membership have become more explicitly gender specific.




NOTES

1. In 1990 I returned to the neighborhood for a second two-month visit and reinterviewed 73 of the original 100 respondents; in 1995 I interviewed 56 of them for a third time, as well as 19 new respondents. Interviews in 1987 were conducted primarily in respondents' homes and lasted two hours. In 1990 and 1995 they took place in the office of the residence committee and lasted between 60 and 90 minutes. Interviews were conducted by the author in the presence of a young woman cadre either from the office of the Shanghai Union or the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences.

2. For example, during the Cultural Revolution, when coresidence with a politically stigmatized parent might have jeopardized the son's livelihood, parents turned to daughters. Coresidence with a daughter was considered more temporary and therefore less worthy of censure. In both the 1970s and 1980s, daughters who were confronting unusual hardship (usually as a result of abuse or desertion) returned to their parents' home. But unless a daughter married a man with extremely poor housing resources, daughters rarely remained in their parents' home after marriage if a married brother was living in the same city.

3. In a 1993 survey in Shanghai that gathered retrospective data on marriages registered between 1950 and 1994, uxorilocal households peaked during the Cultural Revolution decade (1966–76) and steadily declined thereafter (Shen and Yang 1995, 125).

4. In a study of Beijing youth, Riley (1994) argued that for urban families parental guanxi (connections) are equivalent to family property in Taiwan for determining young adults' residential situation, but she does not document this claim with comparative material on household formation. Moreover it is impossible to equate the two. Unlike property in Taiwan, guanxi in China is not a tangible, fungible resource with universal monetary value. The guanxi resource also lacks another essential characteristic of family property in Taiwan: equal right of ownership among all (male) coparceners regardless of what the parents want, how the son behaves, or where the son actually resides. In Taiwan, sons have an irrevocable claim on the parental home, which by virtue of birth is also their estate. In China, such notions of family property and rules for partition no longer defined the underlying dynamics of urban household reconfiguration after the Communist revolution.

5. In China since the establishment of the household registration system in the 1950s, children “inherit” the registration of their mothers, although they routinely take their father's surname. This policy was established to curb migration into cities by the dependents of male migrant workers, but was also applied in city areas.

6. Among the 35 women who had been married to men with managerial professional jobs, 16 had moved and one had died. Among the 35 women whose husbands were routine white-collar workers, seven had moved and six had died. Among the 30 women whose husbands were manual workers, only three had left the neighborhood and three had died.

7. In 1987, there were 3,016 people registered in 814 households; in 1992, there were 2,750 in 875 households; and in 1995, there were 2,745 in 916 households.

8. Forty-seven percent were born in villages, 21 percent in county or market towns. Forty-seven percent received no education as a child. At age thirty, 68 percent had been manual workers and 11 percent low level clerks. Twenty percent were CCP members.

9. After 1985, the number of households grew at twice the rate of the population. Between 1985 and 1995, the officially registered population grew by 37 percent but the number of legally registered households increased 72 percent (Shanghai Tongji Nianjian 1995, 1996, 40–41).

【字体: 】【打印】【关闭

附 件:


| 中心简介 | 网站介绍 | 版权声明 | 服务条款 | 站点导航 | 请您留言 | 网站地图 | RSS聚合资讯