The courses of the Department attempt to provide students with a basic knowledge of sociological andanthropological concepts theories, and methods, applying these to the empirical study of topics which have some relevance to contemporary Hong Kong. Thus in addition to basic courses in theory and methods, regionally there are courses on Hong Kong itself, China and other Asian societies and topically there are courses on a wide range of sub-fields within sociology.

 


 

Department of Sociology and Centre for criminology 
The 'Thinking globally about crime' series: Beyond Borders and Boundaries: Theoretical Issues and Methodological Innovations for Investigating Ordinary Migrants Surveillance Practices and Encounters.
Mark Johnson, University of Hull

This paper describes a new interdisciplinary project that brings together an anthropologist (Mark Johnson, University of Hull), sociologist (Maggy Lee, Hong Kong University) and criminologist (Mike McCahill, University of Hull) to investigate ordinary migrants’ awareness about, perception of and responses to surveillance as they travel to, live and work in three world cities: Hong Kong, Riyadh and Toronto. The first part of the paper sets out five key conceptual, methodological and empirical deficiencies in existing scholarly accounts of surveillance and migration. The second part of the paper describes the innovative methodology developed and reports on the results of an initial pilot study trialling the use of android smartphones to record respondent daily time-space diary accounts of surveillance. 

Bio
Mark Johnson is Reader in Social Anthropology at the University of Hull. His research is concerned with gender/sexuality, movement and transnationalism. He has conducted ethnographic research in the Philippines, Vietnam, Costa Rica and more recently Saudi Arabia, the latter focused on the experiences of Filipino migrants living and working in the Kingdom. Together with colleagues in sociology and criminology (Maggy Lee, Hong Kong University and Mike McCahill, University of Hull) he has embarked on a new interdisciplinary project that aims to investigate ordinary migrants’ awareness, perception and responses to surveillance. Recent publications include, Diasporic Journeys, Ritual, and Normativity among Asian Migrant Women London: Routledge. (2011, with Pnina Werbner, eds), Mediated Diasporas: Material Translation of the Philippines in a Globalized World. Special Issue, South East Asia Research (2011, with D. McKay, eds), Queer Asian Subjects: Transgressive Sexualities and Heteronormative Meanings. Special Issue, Asian Studies Review (2012, with E. Blackwood, eds). 

February 26, 2015 Thursday
4:30pm
Rm813, 8/F, The Jockey Club Tower, HKU

All are welcome

Department of Sociology and Centre for criminology 
The 'Thinking globally about crime' series: Surveillance and Care among Migrant Filipinos in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Mark Johnson, University of Hull

Abstract
Surveillance features routinely in discussions of migration in terms of boundary crossing and border policing; that is, of how states and state like entities seek to limit and control movement, often at a distance. In this paper I describe the sorts of surveillance that migrants encounter and talk about the limitations of existing scholarly accounts of that surveillance. In particular, I examine how migrants who are excluded from care by forms of selective ‘non/surveillance’ have to rely on their own informal social networks to watch out for, and watch over, each other. In particular, I draw on Foucault’s (2009) notion of pastoral power to explore ethnographically the way that migrants’ surveillance practices in Saudi Arabia combine an ethics of care with social control and regulation in sometimes precarious situations. 

Bio
Mark Johnson is Reader in Social Anthropology at the University of Hull. His research is concerned with gender/sexuality, movement and transnationalism. He has conducted ethnographic research in the Philippines, Vietnam, Costa Rica and more recently Saudi Arabia, the latter focused on the experiences of Filipino migrants living and working in the Kingdom. Together with colleagues in sociology and criminology (Maggy Lee, Hong Kong University and Mike McCahill, University of Hull) he has embarked on a new interdisciplinary project that aims to investigate ordinary migrants’ awareness, perception and responses to surveillance. Recent publications include, Diasporic Journeys, Ritual, and Normativity among Asian Migrant Women London: Routledge. (2011, with Pnina Werbner, eds), Mediated Diasporas: Material Translation of the Philippines in a Globalized World. Special Issue, South East Asia Research (2011, with D. McKay, eds), Queer Asian Subjects: Transgressive Sexualities and Heteronormative Meanings. Special Issue, Asian Studies Review (2012, with E. Blackwood, eds). 

February 27, 2015 Friday
6:45pm
CPD-2.14, 2/F, Centennial Campus, HKU

All are welcome


THE UNIVERSITY OF HONG KONG
DEPARTMENT OF SOCIOLOGY

"The Power of Instability: Protests, Market and Bargained Authoritarianism in China" Ching Kwan Lee

2nd March 2015, 11.30 am
Social Sciences Chamber, 11/F, The Jockey Club Tower, Centennial Campus, HKU

Abstract
This talk develops an interactive and relational conception of infrastructural state power for studying authoritarian regimes’ capacity to absorb popular protests. Based on an ethnography of the grassroots state in moments of unrest in China, I identify three micro-foundations of Chinese authoritarianism: protest bargaining, legal-bureaucratic absorption, and patron-clientelism. Adopting the respective logic of market exchange, rule-bound games and inter-personal bonds, these mechanisms have the effect of depoliticizing social unrest and constitute a lived experience of authoritarian domination as non-zero sum, totalizing and transparent yet permissive of rooms for maneuvering and bargaining. This heuristic framework calls for bringing the subjective experience of subordination back in to the theorizing of state domination.

Ching Kwan Lee is Professor of Sociology at the University of California, Los Angeles. A native of Hong Kong, she obtained her PhD in Sociology from the University of California at Berkeley and has previously taught at the Chinese University of Hong Kong and the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Her research focuses on labour, gender, political sociology, comparative and global ethnography, Global South and China. She is the author of two award winning books: Gender and the South China Miracle: Two Worlds of Factory Women (University of California Press 1998), and Against the Law: Labor Protests in China’s Rustbelt and Sunbelt (University of California Press 2007). She is currently completing a book manuscript titled The Specter of Global China: Contesting Chinese Capital on the Zambian Copperbelt, which is a comparative ethnography of China’s engagement with African labour and government in Zambia.

All are welcome

 

 

THE UNIVERSITY OF HONG KONG
DEPARTMENT OF SOCIOLOGY

Progress and Diversity in Social Theory
Prof. John Scott CBE

March 6, 2015 (Friday) 4:30 pm
Room 813, 8/F., The Jockey Club Tower, Centennial Campus, HKU

Abstract
Can sociology show any advance or progress, or is it simply a pluralistic mixture of diverse theoretical approaches? Social theorists are constantly searching for ‘new directions’ and ‘new approaches’: why is there a lack of appreciation of existing approaches and contributions made in the past? These are the issues that will be considered in this lecture and discussion. The lecture will consider those areas of the discipline that can be said to show signs of genuine theoretical achievements and that are in danger of being lost in the search for new directions. It will explore the theoretical contributions of past and present theorists to an intellectual enterprise that must be seen as involving an intellectual division of labour towards a common goal rather than dissolving into a fragmentary cacophony of rival arguments.

John Scott has taught and researched at the Universities of Strathclyde, Leicester, Essex, and Plymouth. He has held visiting positions in Japan, Norway, and Denmark and currently holds positions at the Universities of Exeter and Copenhagen. His research has been in the areas of class and power, economic sociology, and social theory, including the history of sociology. His recent publications include Financial Elites and Transnational Business. Who Rules the World? (with Georgina Murray, Edward Elgar, 2012), C. Wright Mills and the Sociological Imagination (with Ann Nilsen, Edward Elgar, 2013), Conceptualising the Social World. Principles of Sociological Analysis (Cambridge University Press, 2011), and Envisioning Sociology. Victor Branford, Patrick Geddes, and the Quest for Social Reconstruction (with Ray Bromley SUNY Press, 2013).

All are welcome

 

The 11th Annual Conference of the Hong Kong Sociological Association

The Department of Sociology has hosted the 11th Annual Conference of the Hong Kong Sociological Association (HKSA). [Photo]