Vietnam Academy Of Social Sciences

Model of Divorce in Contemporary Vietnam: A socio-economic and structural analysis of divorce in the Red River Delta in 2000s


Publication year: 2014

In the last several decades, marriage and family in Vietnam experienced a significant transition from the traditional style to more modern and liberal characteristics. Traditional patterns of arranged marriage, gender inequality, strong patriarchy, and having many children under the Confucian cultural heritage significantly declined. The models of the extended family, strong son preference, the important roles of the kinship system, dominant male household head, and etc are transitional substantially.

While divorce has long been culturally discouraged and limited, divorce has been rapidly increasing after the renovation policy in late 1980s with alternative causes, consequences and etc. However, very few empirical studies, which are based on statistical analyses of individual data on the association between socio-demographic factors and divorce in Vietnam, have been published. Using the results of the existed data, which include Vietnam censuses 1989, 1999, and 2009; the annual statistics on divorces at the Vietnam Supreme Court; and especially, the whole divorce cases granted at two district courts in ten years 2000-2009 in the Red River Delta (i.e. 2033 divorced cases, of which 499 divorced couples in a rural district and 1534 divorced couples in the urban district); this book attempts to examine the prevalence, patterns and how the reported reasons of divorce varied with structural factors, such as gender, cultural and demographics (i.e. rural/urban residence, living standard, living arrangement before divorce), life course (i.e. presence of children, birth cohort, age at marriage, duration of marriage, and age at divorce) and socioeconomic status (education, and wealth rank) as well as effects of divorce in contemporary Vietnam such as child arrangement, house arrangement, properties arrangement, social integration, remarriage of the divorced people

In addition to 2033 divorced cases using quantitative analysis, among divorcees in these two districts, 21 case studies were conducted to collect information on the family background and childhood memories, mate selection; wedding experiences, living arrangement after marriage, the birth of the first child, the sequences of the marital conflicts, divorce procedures, decision, and effects. Through this research, this book aims to counter the weakness and deficiency of divorce studies in Vietnam up to now and to place divorce studies in Vietnam in a comparative discussion with other Asian countries, especially countries with similar cultural backgrounds.

The book was divided by eight chapters as the follows:

Chapter 1: Vietnamese marriage and family: A historical perspective: This chapter presents the fundamental natures of marriage and family in Vietnam from the traditional to the modern model.

Chapter 2: Theories, Methods and Data: This chapter presents theories and approaches applied in the thesis which include gender perspective, modernization theory, stress perspective, and previous literature on socioeconomic, cultural and demographic and life course determinants of divorce. This chapter also presents hypotheses on divorce prevalence, patterns and effects. It also provides the framework of independent and dependent variables in the forces of socio-structural background and power subjects. Sources of data, method, and variables are also presented in this chapter.

Chapter 3: Prevalence and Patterns of Divorce in Contemporary Vietnam: The chapter shows numbers of divorce, divorce rates, probability of being divorced/separated, divorce procedure, and key characteristics of the divorcees such as age at divorce, age at marriage, wealth ranking, living arrangement, child number, sex composition of child of the divorcees and how they vary across different socio-structural settings .

Chapter 4: Marriage Duration of the Divorcees: Also marriage duration of the divorce is examined to identify the social differences by different marriage duration.

Chapter 5: Divorce Initiation and Determinants: the initiative person in divorce is especially treated as a dependent variable to examine its social structure and gender perspective. 

Chapter 6: Tradition and Modernity in Divorce Reasons: Social and structural differences will be analyzed for each given cause of divorce, which includes lifestyle difference, domestic violence, infidelity, economic hardship, addicted, childless, and other social cultural factors from the qualitative study.

Chapter 7: Custody of Children after Divorce: This chapter examines the trend and patterns of child custody, house arrangements, and property arrangement after divorces and how the patterns vary across socio-structural factors such as gender, socioeconomic status, cultural and demographics factors. The chapter also looks at the psychological effects, the role of the natal family, and possibility of remarriage of the divorcees, especially women.

Chapter 8: Conclusion on Model of Divorce: The chapter summarizes key findings and conclusions from the previous chapters and discusses the transition of divorce from the traditional to modern and liberal type in the context of retaining familialism in contemporary Vietnam.

The book was written in English, and is currently available at the Library of Institute for Family and Gender Studies (Add 27 Tran Xuan Soan, Hanoi); Library of Kyoto University, Japan; Library of Institute of Sociology, Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences.

Social Sciences Publishing House, 2014

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