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Traditional social structures have in the past decades eroded due to economic transformation and the contact with Western ideas.
Nevertheless, a great deal of the notions I described above, albeit in a new and often mitigated form, can be still found today.
Buying and selling women into marriage and forcing widows into marriage were common practices, as well as match-making.
Arranged marriages where bride and bridegroom did not meet until the wedding ceremony were also widespread.
However, shared decision-making is a broader phenomenon that goes beyond parental authority.
For instance, a survey has showed that Chinese people are likely to ask both their parents and their friends for advice and that their opinion has a great impact in the decision-making process of individuals.
Shared decision-making might be rather puzzling for Westerners.
I would like to point out that the concept of shared decision-making has nothing to do - as it is often erroneously assumed - with ideas such as "group altruism" or "thinking about others".
I will explain in a future post why shared decision-making is not a consequence of altruism or of self-sacrifice for the sake of others, but rather the product of social pressure, status expectations and external reference standards.
that the future husband and wife needed to have similar social status.
If the social status of the partners was too different, a marriage was thought to be bound to failure.
In Chinese culture, marriage was not based on love or romance, but it was a transaction between two families in which a woman was transferred to her husband's family.