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The Vietnamese Double Marriage Squeeze

Archived Abstract of Former PSC Researcher

Goodkind, Daniel. 1997. "The Vietnamese Double Marriage Squeeze." International Migration Review, 31(1): 0108-0127.

According to Guttentag and Second (1983), the relative balance of power between the sexes is determined by dynamic interactions of dyadic and structural power. Dyadic power accrues to whichever sex is relatively rare owing to the larger proportion of potential relationships available to it, the demographic dimensions of which are commonly known as a marriage squeeze. Structural power refers to control over economic, political or legal resources: men or women, according to the thesis, attempt to overcome existing deficits in dyadic power by gaining such resources. The unique dual case study presented here illuminates the state political institutions and other contextual conditions under which both dyadically disadvantaged men and women have been unable to garner such structural resources. Young women in Vietnam during the 1970s and 1980s faced a severe deficit of male partners due to population growth, war, and excess male migration. At the other end of the Vietnamese diaspora, overseas Vietnamese men during the 1980s and 1990s have faced an even greater shortage of Vietnamese women. In each area, the sex in surplus has not only been forced to delay or forego marriage, but has also lost structural power. Women's advocates in Vietnam have been weakened in the post reunification era due in part to the implementation of free market reforms in a nondemocratic political context. Overseas men have been disadvantaged due to a more equitable Western social and legal climate that has eroded their former advantage.

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