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Marriage and Inequality in Chinese Society$
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Rubie Watson and Patricia Buckley Ebrey

Print publication date: 1991

Print ISBN-13: 9780520069305

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520069305.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 17 September 2021

Wives, Concubines, and Maids: Servitude and Kinship in the Hong Kong Region, 1900–1940

Wives, Concubines, and Maids: Servitude and Kinship in the Hong Kong Region, 1900–1940

Chapter:
(p.231) Seven Wives, Concubines, and Maids: Servitude and Kinship in the Hong Kong Region, 1900–1940
Source:
Marriage and Inequality in Chinese Society
Author(s):

Rubie S. Watson

Publisher:
University of California Press
DOI:10.1525/california/9780520069305.003.0008

This chapter discusses the ways in which servile status and gender inequality interact to create conditions of subordination and hierarchy within the household itself, arguing that the inequality among household men differs from that among household women, and that these differences are related to the overall structure of gender and class inequality. It asks: In what ways are wives, concubines, and maids affected by gender and class stratification, and how do their ties to the household and family differ from one another and from coresident males? The chapter examines the status of wives, concubines, and “little maids” in the Hong Kong region from 1900 to 1940. The households discussed tended to be large, including concubines, slaves, indentured menials, and servants, as well as three or four generations of family members.

Keywords:   servants, gender inequality, class inequality, households, subordination, wives, concubines, maids

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