Chapter

Wives, Concubines, and Maids: Servitude and Kinship in the Hong Kong Region, 1900–1940

Rubie S. Watson

in Marriage and Inequality in Chinese Society

Published by University of California Press

Published in print April 1991 | ISBN: 9780520069305
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520910454 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520069305.003.0008
Wives, Concubines, and Maids: Servitude and Kinship in the Hong Kong Region, 1900–1940

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This chapter discusses the ways in which servile status and gender inequality interact to create conditions of subordination and hierarchy within the household itself, arguing that the inequality among household men differs from that among household women, and that these differences are related to the overall structure of gender and class inequality. It asks: In what ways are wives, concubines, and maids affected by gender and class stratification, and how do their ties to the household and family differ from one another and from coresident males? The chapter examines the status of wives, concubines, and “little maids” in the Hong Kong region from 1900 to 1940. The households discussed tended to be large, including concubines, slaves, indentured menials, and servants, as well as three or four generations of family members.

Keywords: servants; gender inequality; class inequality; households; subordination; wives; concubines; maids

Chapter.  12306 words. 

Subjects: Anthropology

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