Marriage, Work, and Family Life in Comparative Perspective: Japan, South Korea, and the United States


Noriko O. Tsuya and Larry L. Bumpass (eds.)


Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press

Publication Date: 2004
ISBN: 0-8248-2775-9
Binding: paper
Pages: xiv, 177


Families are changing throughout the postindustrial world. In the West, marriage is playing a dwindling role in defining sexual behavior, childbearing, cohabitation, and family stability. In Asian societies, sex increasingly occurs before marriage, young people delay getting married or never marry at all, and divorce is on the rise. Asian government leaders are seeing their countries' fertility rates fall to alarmingly low levels. At the same time, the roles of women and mothers are changing rapidly in both the East and the West. "Family" is at once central to society and the crucible of social change; the transformation of this fundamental institution is among the most profound changes of the last half century.

When we compare Eastern and Western societies, we find similar economic and social forces at work. But the impact of these on family life reflects differences in cultural history and social context. This volume examines family change in Korea, Japan, and the United States, allowing us to contrast the collective emphasis of a Confucian social heritage with the individualism of the West. An impressive group of demographers and family sociologists considers such questions as: How do family patterns vary within countries and across societies? How essential are marriage and parenthood? How do levels of contact between middle-aged adults and their parents who live elsewhere differ in East Asian countries and the U.S.?

Policy makers and demographic and family researchers both in the U.S. and Asia will find this book a vital resource for understanding the dynamics of family life in contrasting modern societies.

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