Impact of Globalization Forces on Family Relationships in China

Document Type

Journal Article


Sociology and Anthropology

Publication Date

Spring 2006


The rapid economic growth of China in recent years has had spillover effects on male/female relationships and on the Chinese family. To examine some of the subjective meanings of these developments, in depth interviews were conducted with 55 middle-aged women living in urban areas. Since most of these women were coming into early adulthood during the Cultural Revolution, generational effects played a big part in their responses to the increased commitments of young people to personal freedom and hedonistic values. With the increased emphasis on personal preference and rational choice, dramatic changes occurred in intimate relationships within a relatively short period of time. Economic prosperity and personal freedom have been accompanied by increases in divorce, marital infidelity, cohabitation, and premarital sexuality. These developments are examined within the framework of Durkheim's conception of sexual anomie.