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Creating New Traditions in Modern Chinese Populations: Aiming for Birth in the Year of the Dragon

Daniel M. Goodkind
Population and Development Review
Vol. 17, No. 4 (Dec., 1991), pp. 663-686
Published by: Population Council
DOI: 10.2307/1973601
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1973601
Page Count: 24
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Creating New Traditions in Modern Chinese Populations: Aiming for Birth in the Year of the Dragon
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Abstract

Several Chinese populations in East Asia outside of the People's Republic showed preferences for giving birth in the auspicious Dragon Years of 1976 and 1988. Such preferences, however, were evidently never exhibited before 1976. The motivating forces underlying this new behavioral tradition are explored at the cultural, individual, and institutional levels. While modern contraception and smaller family-size desires may have facilitated the tradition, the onset of the phenomenon and its widely varying strength over space and time cannot be understood as simple consequences of these variables. Rather, the phenomenon appears to be a social construction of the modern era that first coalesced under a unique alignment of historical circumstances, and it continues to manifest itself according to specific institutional conditions.

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