continuity and change in vietnamese families

Topics: Family, Marriage, Law Pages: 1 (407 words) Published: February 24, 2014
A patriarchal family, with the man as the head of the household, is the traditional structure of the Vietnamese family. Confucianists framed their cultural norm in terms of the duties and obligations of a family to father, a child to parent, a wife to husband, and a younger brother to an older brother. They believed that the welfare and the solidity of the family were far more important than individual interests of any one member of a family. The individual was less independent than a member of a family that included not only living members but also a long line of ancestors and of those yet to be born. Members of the same household lived together, worked together, and gathered together for marriages, funerals, celebrations, and rituals marking the anniversary of an ancestor's death. Family members looked first to other family members for help and counsel in times of personal crisis and guarded the interests of the family in making personal or household decisions. They were less likely to seek support outside the confines of the family. After 1954, the Vietnamese family structure changed. The notion that the family was the most important and number one focus of individual allegiance was criticized as feudal by the communists, who also criticized the traditional concept that the family as an entity is a “self-contained socioeconomic unit.” In 1959, there was major family reform. Under the new law, which was enacted and put into effect in 1960, the law's intent was to protect the rights of women and children by prohibiting bigamy forced marriage, prostitution, and abuse. It was designed to make women equal to men, in regards to rights and obligations, within the family and to enable women to enjoy equal status with men in social and work-related activities. In December 1986, the government enacted a new family law that incorporated the 1959 law and added some new provisions. The law explicitly defined the "socialist family" as one in which "the wife and husband...
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