Bernice Kuang , University of Reading
Due to cultural inclination toward familism, cohabitation in Asia is often framed as a prelude to marriage. Growing cohabitation in the Philippines suggests views of cohabitation are evolving. Previous qualitative studies of cohabitation have focused on Western contexts, from individualistic perspectives. Using focus groups, I examine perceptions of cohabitation and marriage in the Philippines to investigate the role of individualistic or family-centric tendencies. Respondents viewed cohabitation and marriage similarly, in terms of practical and emotional benefits, and evaluated relationships based on how their children would be affected. Respondents viewed cohabitation as a preferable response to nonmarital pregnancy, enabling co-parenting without commitment to marriage. The high valuation of personal fulfilment in relationships and the tolerance of a variety of family forms imply individualistic views, yet the child-centric nature of relationship decisions and valuation of religion also suggest persistence of tradition and familism, demonstrating the complexity of these family changes.
Presented in Session 21. Public Policy, Normative Values, and Cohabitation