Document Type

Journal Article

Department/Unit

Department of Sociology

Title

Women’s property rights in a Chinese lineage village

Language

English

Abstract

This article examines female property rights in a Chinese lineage village in rural Hong Kong in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. It demonstrates the conditions under which female villagers have been entitled to family property and/or cash dividends of an ancestral estate, even though the male-only inheritance rule is a deeply rooted lineage custom. Notably, female inheritance, while allowed, has applied only to land and cash, not to village houses themselves because those are still essential for the maintenance of a lineage community and its associated sense of identity. As for cash and land, particularly after the 1970s, they are not bound up with that social or symbolic meaning, and thus are considered transferable to female villagers. This article shows that in a lineage system women's property rights are permitted, but this is neither absolute nor based on the principles of gender equality, meaning that women's rights are situational and subject to negotiation. © 2013 SAGE Publications.

Keywords

Chinese lineage, gender and property, inheritance, women's property rights

Publication Date

2013

Source Publication Title

Modern China

Volume

39

Issue

1

Start Page

101

End Page

128

Publisher

SAGE Publications

DOI

10.1177/0097700412463788

Link to Publisher's Edition

http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0097700412463788

ISSN (print)

00977004

ISSN (electronic)

15526836

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