Indispensable sons : negotiating reproductive desires in north rural Vietnam

Authors: Bélanger, Danièle
Other Title(s): Hijos indispensables : negociando los deseos reproductivos en Vietnam rural
Abstract: The decline in fertility that has taken place in most countries of Asia over the past few decades has presented a challenge to demographic theory. While most families have shrunk considerably in size and the desire for only a few children is shared by most, the importance of producing a male child has persisted in some regions and strata of many Asian societies. The clash between the desire for only a few children and for a male child causes many individuals to experience conflicting reproductive aspirations, particularly women, who are generally held responsible for the sex of their children and whose status depends on their production of male heirs. Based on ethnographic material, I document the different strategies women in rural northern Vietnam use throughout their reproductive years in their quest to have a son. I discuss the construction of reproductive desires with special attention to the need for a son, as such need was the most central element of discourses on reproductive desire in the narratives collected. The article also elaborates on how women maneuver to negotiate these desires between different scales: the local, particularly family, kin and community members; the national, more specifically Vietnam's two-child family planning policy; and the global, with its notions of a good family and of ‘good quality’ children.
Document Type: Article de recherche
Issue Date: 15 August 2006
Open Access Date: Restricted access
Document version: VoR
This document was published in: Gender, Place & Culture : a Journal of Feminist Geography, Vol. 13 (3), 251–265 (2006)
Carfax Publishing
Alternative version: 10.1080/09663690600701012
Collection:Articles publiés dans des revues avec comité de lecture

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