Accepted Paper:

Asymmetric flows of support among siblings and its limits: some evidence from current rural China  


Xiujie Wu (Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology)

Paper short abstract:

This paper explores the practices of asymmetric flows of social support among siblings as well as their effects upon the village community in rural North China.

Paper long abstract:

In the age of the market economy in contemporary China, the family income of rural residents depends increasingly on their individual efforts as well as their ability to take part in the labour market or other economic activities beyond agriculture. At the same time, strong notions of the patriarchal kinship system concerning solidarity and responsibility for mutual support, if in need, among siblings (first of all, among brothers) still prevail. Tensions among siblings escalate if the asymmetric flows of support have to be guaranteed over a long period. How do people articulate their claims for and resistance to obligations of support? What strategies are used and accepted for mitigating tensions? What are the consequences for the constant process of division and re-integration within the village community? Based on field material from a village in north China, this paper will explore these questions further.

Panel W002
Markets, kinship and morality