Department of Sociology
A sparse sociological literature on surnaming reports predominantly western cases. This article examines surnaming practices in present-day China, where married women universally retain their surname as part of a national political project. The one-child policy disrupts the practice of providing to a child his/her father’s surname. Wives from daughter-only families increasingly provide their surname to their child(ren). Various social forms of mother-surname-to-child practices are discussed, including those involving zhao-xu (uxorilocal marriage) and liang-tou-dun (‘two places to stay’). The article reports a gender strategy of mother-to-child surnaming that paradoxically enforces patriarchal inheritance and obligation. A concept, ‘veiled patriarchy’, is developed and applied to surnaming practices in contemporary China.
gender, inheritance, obligation, power, surnaming, veiled patriarchy
Source Publication Title
Qi, X. (2017). Neo-traditional Child Surnaming in Contemporary China: Women's Rights as Veiled Patriarchy. Sociology, 1-16. https://doi.org/10.1177/0038038516688613