In the literature on the process of socioeconomic transformation, a major debate centers on the questions of how and how much indigenous traditions, including kinship structures, are transformed by the larger political economic framework (Sahlins 1985, Hobsbawm 1983, Wolf 1982). Marxist theoretical analyses tend to emphasize the eventual demise of gender inequality and male-oriented (patrilineal, patrilocal, and patriarchical) kinship systems—kinship systems within which gender relations are also embedded (cf. Engels 1972). The analytical literature on Vietnamese kinship and gender in the socialist era is certainly not an exception in this regard. It is pervaded with general propositions regarding the nuclearization of the family (Houtart and Lemercinier 1981, Werner 1981) and the political-economy-based transformation of the system toward a structure of egalitarian gender relations (e.g., Lê thḷ Nhâm-Tuyêt 1973).

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