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Three Essays on Worldviews, Autonomy and the Family in Nepal.

dc.contributor.authorMitchell, Colter M.en_US
dc.description.abstractThis dissertation consists of three papers on the interrelatedness of beliefs about family behavior, beliefs about societal development, and variation in family behaviors in a rapidly changing social context. The first two essays address the beliefs of ordinary people concerning the relationship between family change and societal modernization. The last essay examines the ways in which individual, parental, and local community beliefs about spouse choice influence later spouse choice participation. My first two essays incorporate two prominent theories of social life—the modernization theory and W.I. Thomas’ theorem that people’s perceptions have real consequences—into an examination of the belief systems of people living in Nepal’s Chitwan Valley. In the first essay I document the extent to which survey respondents expect certain family types (late marriage, polygamy, small families) to be in certain types of societies (developed, poor, educated), and the extent to which they believe family change and societal change are causally connected. Survey results from this rural population in Nepal suggest that the majority of people strongly believe that behaviors related to fertility, marriage, and gender equality are causally related to societal development. Respondents provide similar answers whether a society changes via education, wealth, or development. The second essay extends previous work by examining subgroup variation in belief in developmental models. Results based on the Nepal survey data demonstrate that the most disadvantaged and geographically isolated groups are the most likely to reject aspects of the developmental model. Respondents with higher levels of education and mass media consumption are more supportive of developmental models. In the third essay I create a theoretical framework to explain how the individual, family and local community interrelate to determine spouse choice behavior. This framework pays particular attention to the role of education as an allocator of social status and influence. Analyses on a sample from Nepal show that the attitudes of both young adults and their fathers influence participation in spouse choice, and that young adults with higher levels of education are significantly more likely to get the level of participation they desire than do their counterparts with lower levels of education.en_US
dc.format.extent980595 bytes
dc.format.extent1373 bytes
dc.subjectDevelopmental Idealismen_US
dc.titleThree Essays on Worldviews, Autonomy and the Family in Nepal.en_US
dc.description.thesisdegreegrantorUniversity of Michigan, Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studiesen_US
dc.contributor.committeememberThornton, Arland D.en_US
dc.contributor.committeememberAxinn, William G.en_US
dc.contributor.committeememberKimball, Miles S.en_US
dc.contributor.committeememberXie, Yuen_US
dc.subject.hlbsecondlevelPopulation and Demographyen_US
dc.subject.hlbsecondlevelSouth Asian Languages and Culturesen_US
dc.subject.hlbsecondlevelStatistics and Numeric Dataen_US
dc.subject.hlbtoplevelSocial Sciencesen_US
dc.owningcollnameDissertations and Theses (Ph.D. and Master's)

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