Interfaith marriages involving Chinese Christians living in the United States




Vaughan, Kenneth

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Current cultural theories in sociology posit that individuals can utilize cultural repertoires to develop and execute strategies of action. These repertoires consist of, among other factors, the religious beliefs and ethnic backgrounds of individuals, which are often conveyed in the form of stories and symbols. This project draws together the sociological literatures on cultural repertoires, interfaith marriages and Chinese identity. In this study, I analyze the various strategies that Christians from China who are currently living in the United States use to negotiate the challenges posed by their interfaith marriages. Using in-depth interview data, I explore how these Chinese Christian immigrants creatively enlist tools from variegated cultural repertoires, namely, conservative Christianity and Chinese Christian social networks, to create and sustain meaningful marriages with spouses who do not share their religious convictions. I also examine the internal conflicts and divergence of religious and ethnic identities in the lives of these Chinese Christians immigrants. This study contributes significantly to empirical scholarship on Chinese Christianity and interfaith marriage while also augmenting Swidler's theory of cultural repertoires. I conclude by discussing the implications of this study and specifying directions for future research.


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China, Chinese, Christian, Christianity, Marriage, Sociology