The Stem Family in Eurasian Perspective

Revisiting House Societies, 17th-20th centuries

by Antoinette Fauve-Chamoux (Volume editor) Emiko Ochiai (Volume editor)
©2009 Edited Collection XIV, 562 Pages


Is the Asian stem family different from its European counterpart? This question is a central issue in this collection of essays assembled by two historians of the family in Eurasian perspective. The stem family is characterized by the residential rule that only one married child remains with the parents. This rule has a direct effect upon household structure. In short, the stem family is a domestic unit of production and reproduction that persists over generations, handing down the patrimony through non-egalitarian inheritance. In spite of its ambiguous status in current family typology as something lurking in the valley between the nuclear family and the joint family, the stem family was an important family form in pre-industrial Western Europe and has been a focus of the European family history since Frédéric Le Play and more recently Peter Laslett. However, the encounter with Asian family history has revealed that many areas in Asia also had and still have a considerable proportion of households with a stem-family structure. The stem family debate has entered a new stage. In this book, some studies that benefited from recently created large databases present micro-level analyses of dynamic aspects of family systems, while others discuss more broadly the rise and fall of family systems, past and present. A main concern of this book is whether the family type in a society is ethno-culturally determined and resistant to changes or created by socio-economic conditions. Such a comparison that includes Asian countries activates a new phase of the discussion on the stem family and family systems in a global perspective.


XIV, 562
ISBN (Softcover)
Asiatische Geschichte Gesellschaft und Kultur Etudes de femmes et du genre
Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, New York, Oxford, Wien, 2009. XIV, 562 pp., 10 ill., num. tables and graphs

Biographical notes

Antoinette Fauve-Chamoux (Volume editor) Emiko Ochiai (Volume editor)

The Editors: Antoinette Fauve-Chamoux is Maître de Conférences at Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS), Centre de Recherches Historiques/CNRS, Paris (France), where she teaches History of the Family. She was a researcher at the Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw, associate Professor at University of Montréal, Canada, and is currently honorary Professor at National University of Salta, Argentina. As a social historian and historical demographer, she has edited several books and published numerous essays on the history of the family, Malthusianism, female migration, gender studies and social change in Europe, and comparative family transmission systems in Eurasia. Emiko Ochiai is Professor of Sociology at the Graduate School of Letters, Kyoto University. She was an Associate Professor at the International Research Center for Japanese Studies in Kyoto and was a visiting research fellow at the Cambridge Group for the History of Population and Social Structure. Her major research field is the historical and comparative sociology of the family and gender. Her book The Japanese Family System in Transition. A Sociological Analysis of Family Change in Postwar Japan was published in Japanese in 1994 and translated into Korean, Chinese and English.


Title: The Stem Family in Eurasian Perspective