Islam, Family Life, and Gender Inequality in Urban China
By Xiaowei Zang
Routledge – 2011 – 234 pages
This book studies the relationship between Islam, family processes, and gender inequality among Uyghur Muslims in Ürümchi, China. Empirically, it shows in quantitative terms the extent of gender inequalities among Uyghur Muslims in Ürümchi and tests whether the gender inequalities are a difference in kind or in degree. It examines five aspects of gender inequality: employment, income, household task accomplishment, home management, and spousal power. Theoretically, it investigates how Islamic affiliation and family life affect Uyghur women’s status.
Zang’s research involved rare and privileged access to a setting which is difficult for foreign scholars to study due to political restrictions. The data are drawn from fieldwork in Ürümchi between 2005 and 2008, which include a survey of 577 families, field observations, and 200 in-depth interviews with local Uyghurs. The book combines qualitative and quantitative data and methods to study gendered behavior and outcomes. The author’s study reinterprets family power and offers a more nuanced analysis of gender and domestic power in China and makes a pioneering effort to study spousal power, gender inequality in labor market outcomes, and gender inequality in household chores among members of ethnic minorities in China.
The book will be of interest to students and scholars of ethnic studies, Chinese studies, Asian anthropology and cultural sociology.
"Just about everywhere in this book, I found myself sharing the author’s judgements and admiring the way he has reached them. So I regard this as a timely and excellent book, which covers a range of important and controversial topics. It is well written and structured. It contributes to our understanding of theory as well as gender among China’s minorities. I definitely recommend it enthusiastically to students and scholars of China’s ethnic minorities, Islam and gender; and I believe it deserves attention also among a more generalist readership." - Colin Mackerras, Griffith University, Australia; China Information 2012 26: 392
1. Between Islamic Affiliation and Gender Inequality 2. Historical Contexts and Research Design 3. A Hard Choice: To Work or Not to Work? 4. Why Do Uyghur Men Earn More than Uyghur Women? 5. Who Does Household Chores? 6. Who Manages the Household? 7. Who’s the Boss? 8. All in the Family
Xiaowei Zang is Professor and Head of the School of East Asian Studies at the University of Sheffield, UK. He is the author of Children of the Cultural Revolution (2000), Elite Dualism and Leadership Selection in China (2004), and Ethnicity and Urban Life in China (2007). He studies ethnicity, inequality, and elite politics in China.