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Chin J Popul Sci. 1990;2(3):247-56.

Family marriage and fertility in a matriarchal society -- social survey of the Naxi nationality in Ninglang County, Yunnan Province.

Abstract

PIP:

Through the findings of a social survey, this article examines the family characteristics and fertility of the Mosuo people, an offshoot of China's Naxi minority which contains a significant proportion who operate under a matriarchal society. In 1987, researchers surveyed 1430 people belonging to 232 Mosuo households in Ninglang county, Yunnan Province. The 14,000 Mosuo constitute the 3rd largest nationality in the Ninglang county. The survey specifically targeted 2 Musuo communities--the New People's Village, a settlement adjacent to the dominant Han nationality, and the Yongning Township, located in a more geographically isolated region. Researchers discovered 3 types of households among the Musuo 1) In the matrilineal household, a female presides over all activities and production. blood-ties are passed through the mother, and marriage patterns are characterized by the "visiting" style. In this type of union, the partners belong to separate economic units (the male resides in his mother or sister's household), and disunion is easy and unrestricted. 2) In the matri-patrilineal household, both partners share the same economic unit, which includes both matrilineal and patrilineal members. And 3) the patrilineal household, in which a women joins the man's family. Among the Musuo households surveyed, 41.4% were matri-patrilineal, 32.5% were patrilineal, and 26.4% were matrilineal. The matrilineal household has disappeared in the new People's Village, but remains common in the Yongning Township. The article compares the household size, age of marriage, fertility, and divorce rate between matrilineal and patrilineal households. Finally, the article point out some of the effects of transforming from a matrilineal to a patrilineal society.

PMID:
12284988
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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