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Kin networks, marriage, and social mobility in late imperial China

Archived Abstract of Former PSC Researcher

Campbell, Cameron D., and James Z. Lee. 2008. "Kin networks, marriage, and social mobility in late imperial China." Social Science History, 32(2): 175-214.

To assess claims about the role of the extended family in late imperial Chinese society, we examine the influence of kin network characteristics on marriage, reproduction, and attainment in Liaoning Province in Northeast China in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. We compare the influences on outcomes of the number and status of different types of kin as well as the seniority of the individual within each type of kin group. We find that the characteristics of kin outside the household did matter for individual outcomes but that patterns of effects were nuanced. While based on our results we concur that kin networks were important units of social and economic organization in late imperial China, we conclude that their role was complex.

DOI:10.1215/01455532-2007-018 (Full Text)

Country of focus: China.

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