Family and Social Inequalities in Chinese Societies

Conference: AAS-in-Asia2020 (AAS-in-Asia2020)
Title: Family and Social Inequalities in Chinese Societies
Stream: Sociology
Presentation Type: Panel Presentation
Pui-chi Tangi Yip, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong (organizer, presenter, chair)
Suowei Xiao, Beijing Normal University, China (presenter)
Yang Shen, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China (presenter)


This session foregrounds family, as a social institution, in the process of (re-)production of social inequalities in the Asian context. Family has long been recognized as a significant institution in perpetuating inequalities and in transferring wealth, social and cultural capitals across generations. It also intertwines with other social axes, such as gender and class, which further add complexities and tensions to its role in contemporary societies. Family has been a widely-researched area in social stratification. Parents and grandparents pass their social positions and (dis)advantages to their children. A considerable literature based on Western context has enriched our understanding about the interplays of family and social inequalities. This panel builds on the existing research and expands its focus to Asian societies that are undergoing rapid social, economic and political changes. Different from the dominant perspective in the field that has relied heavily on the analysis of quantitative data to verify hypotheses, the papers employ qualitative methods to capture mechanisms through which family shapes social inequalities and vice versa. The panel includes five papers on 1) intergenerational transmission of housing expectations and housing resources in Hong Kong, 2) social class and paid-care migration in China, 3) changing state’s policy in birth control and its implications in women’s work and domestic responsibilities, 4) the rising of middle class in the context of marriage and homeownership, and, 5) intersection of work and family in Singapore.