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Professor Susanne YP Choi on 'Unstoppable Transformations: Rural to Urban Migration and the Chinese Patriarchy'

When Feb 13, 2015
from 01:00 PM to 02:00 PM
Where To be confirmed - 1.00 pm to 2.00 pm
Contact Name
Contact Phone 01223767234
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 Professor Susanne YP Choi


Professor Susanne YP Choi



Professor Susanne YP Choi is Professor at the Department of Sociology and Co-director of the Gender Research Centre at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Her research interests include gender, family, health, migration, and transitional justice and she has written extensively on gender and family issues such as spousal violence, violence against female sex workers, domestic division of labour, cross-border marriages, and rural-to-urban migrant workers in Chinese societies. 

Professor Choi will speak on Unstoppable Transformations: Rural to Urban Migration and the Chinese Patriarchy at 1 pm on Friday 13 February 2015 (venue to be confirmed).


How has migration changed the patriarchal family in post-Socialist China? Official figures suggest that there were 220 million rural-to-urban migrants in China in 2010. Drawing on census and community survey data, ethnography and in-depth interviews with 240 rural-to-urban migrants in South China, this paper examines the effect of rural-to-urban migration on family and gender relationships with a specific focus on changes in men and masculinities. The findings show that migration has considerably transformed the patriarchal Chinese family. Young and single migrant men are thrust into the tension between the persistent influence of rural parents in their grown children’s marriage decisions and the increasing cultural legitimacy for individuals in urban centers to pursue love, romance, and sexual autonomy. Married migrant men have found it increasingly difficult to maintain the traditional dominance and privilege of the husband in the realms of marital decision making and domestic division of labor. Migrant fathers transformed their traditional discipline styles because of their guilt toward their left-behind children. Migrant men also need to renegotiate their traditional obligation as filial sons from afar. The effects of mass internal migration on family lives reveal another side to the stories of China’s sweeping economic reform, modernization and grand social transformations.