Publication Type

Journal Article

Publication Date

6-2003

Abstract

The conventional model of a rising divorce rate during the process of modernization is a staple element of the sociological theory of the family. This generalization is challenged, however, by traditional high-divorce societies, primarily in Islamic Southeast Asia, which have experienced a decline in divorce with modernization. In this study, based on micro-level survey data, the authors explore the social roots of marital disruption in Indonesia and Malaysia and in another Southeast Asian society, Thailand, which has not been identified as a high-divorce society. Comparable survey data from the 1970s (from the World Fertility Survey) allow for an in-depth analysis of traditional patterns of divorce before the rapid modernization of recent decades. Two major findings emerge from the multivariate analysis. First, there is a common pattern across all three societies of higher levels of divorce among "traditional" women—those who live in rural areas, marry at young ages, and have lower levels of education. Second, the authors find significant sociocultural (ethnic, regional, religious) differentials in divorce within each country that cannot be explained by demographic and socioeconomic composition. They present an interpretation of how moderately high levels of divorce were accommodated in traditional Southeast Asian societies.

Keywords

Divorce, Marriage, social problems, socioeconomic factors, South East Asia

Discipline

Asian Studies | Family, Life Course, and Society

Research Areas

Sociology

Publication

Population and Development Review

Volume

29

Issue

2

First Page

215

Last Page

253

ISSN

0098-7921

Identifier

10.1111/j.1728-4457.2003.00215.x

Publisher

Wiley

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Additional URL

http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1728-4457.2003.00215.x

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