Volume 37 - Article 44 | Pages 1413–1444  

Attitudes toward transnational intermarriage in China: Testing three theories of transnationalization

By Yang Hu


Background: In an increasingly interconnected world, understanding the formation of transnational orientations is of great importance. Attitudes toward transnational intermarriage tell of people's view of the transnational world and their perception of the social distance between countries and regions.

Objective: The purpose of this research is to identify the holistic formations of Chinese people's transnational orientations in relation to distinct countries and regions, and examine the individual- and province-level correlates of the distinctive profiles of transnational orientations in order to test theories of transnational convergence, transnational distinction, and individualized transnationalization.

Methods: This research draws on individual-level data from the China General Social Survey (N=3,000) and province-level data from the China Statistics Yearbook. Latent class analysis and multilevel multinomial random-intercept models are used to analyze the data.

Results: A fourfold typology of attitudes toward transnational intermarriage is identified, namely cosmopolitan, pro-West, pro-East Asia, and anti-transnational. The results support the theory of transnational distinction rather than transnational convergence, as macro-level difference ‒ instead of convergence in the level of transnational activity and, particularly, socioeconomic development between countries ‒ fosters support for intermarriage. The thesis of individualized transnationalization is also supported, as individuals' region-specific cultural consumption positively predicts their exclusive support for intermarriage with people from these regions.

Conclusions: The findings reveal the ways in which uneven socioeconomic development, globalization, and individualization configure people’s transnational orientations in a development context.

Author's Affiliation

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