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Changing marriage patterns in Asia

Jones, G.W. (2017) Changing marriage patterns in Asia. In: Zhao, Z. and Hates, A.C., (eds.) Routledge Handbook of Asian Demography. Routledge as part of Taylor and Francis, pp. 351-369.

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There have been major changes in aspects of marriage in Asian countries over recent decades. In one short chapter, it is not possible to cover effectively a continent as large and diverse as Asia, but in this paper I will concentrate on three of the major regions of Asia – East and South-East Asia, on the one hand, and South Asia, on the other. Together they contain over 90 per cent of Asia’s population.1 The key issues differ between South Asia and the more easterly parts of Asia, largely because their traditional marriage and kinship systems differed, but also because the forces acting to modify these systems have had different intensity in different places. Half a century ago, universal and early marriage were characteristic of almost all of Asia,2 but child marriage (a high proportion of girls marrying before their sixteenth birthday), while very common in South Asia, was not common in South-East or East Asia, with the exception of some of the Malay populations of Malaysia and Indonesia. The system that produced child marriage was a strongly patriarchal one in which parent-arranged marriage was the unquestioned mechanism for finding a marriage partner.

Publication Type: Book Chapter
Publisher: Routledge as part of Taylor and Francis
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