Commenced in January 2007
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A House for Men: A Study of the Dong Minority Residential Architecture in the Southern Dialect Areas from a Gender Perspective

Authors: Fung Sze Wai Veera, Peter W. Ferretto

Abstract:

Gender functions as a principle in organizing society based on the cultural meanings given to males and females. It is an essential component in constructing the spatial reality, one that is in most cases in favor of men’s needs and disregards that of women’s. Similar to other minorities in China, men of the Dong community hold the primary position in policymaking, moral standards, social values, and, furthermore, the building of the physical environment. This study, therefore, aims to investigate the residential architecture of Dong through the lens of gender. Specifically, it examines how the patriarchal practice of Dong is manifested in terms of the spatial organization, the architectural feature, and the construction process of Dong houses in the southern dialect areas. While the residential architecture of Dong has been extensively researched, the role of gender culture in designing and constructing it deserves more research attention. Ultimately, the objective of this study is to challenge the notion of gender-inclusive design in the rural China context while opening up a cross-disciplinary discussion concerning Chinese minority architecture and gender studies.

Keywords: Dong minority residential architecture, gender study, built environment, male-dominated society, gender-inclusive design

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