Cross Sex Relationships

In rural China, the kinship idiom continues to be a primary means by which individuals organize their daily lives.

Relationships between cousins, uncles, and aunts are deemed important. In contrast, in urban areas, kinship is clearly regarded as much as a potential burden as a potential benefit or a familial necessity. Upwardly mobile kin often deliberately cut of blood ties which bind them to their more economically humble relatives. Parents, children, siblings, and other kin tend to work at different kinds of jobs, developing individual skills and thus unconnected networks of job-related friends. As a result, the dependence upon one's kin is greatly reduced in favor of increasing reliance on friends in the workplace. This change requires that Chinese pursue a broad-based strategy of social interaction that includes both kin and nonkin. One insightful informant, when asked to make a distinction between kin and friends, acknowledged that "friends are for mundane matters, family is for ritual affairs."

The rural ideal of the joint or "big family" as the preferred family organization no longer exists in urban China or, if it does, only in small numbers. Within the nuclear family, relations are ideally warm and supportive and, in truth, this ideal is more often honored than breached. In contrast to brothers, who display a great deal of sibling rivalry, brothers and sisters cooperate more than compete, with the closest ties being between an older sister and younger brother. For these ties it appears that a wide age gap is conducive to promoting a type of mentor-apprentice relationship which continues throughout an individual's life.

Pregnancy And Childbirth

Pregnancy And Childbirth

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