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
Understanding Triad Societies in Contemporary Hong Kong

Time: 12:30-14:20 Monday April 27th 2015
place: CPD 3.28
Course: SOCI2054 Triads and organized crime

Traditionally, triad societies have been perceived as having a centralized hierarchical structure with restricted membership. The use of strict control mechanisms, rituals and subculture are important for maintaining the relationship between triad operations and cohesiveness of the triad society. On the contrary, some researchers argued that triad societies are decentralized based on the examination of triad-related crime operations. Individual triad members are free to collaborate with other triads and non-triads to operate licit and illicit businesses.
Based on ethnographic approach and in-depth interviews, Sharon Kwok found that the hierarchical structure of triad societies remains, but in modified form. The issues today are: how do triad societies operate under the modified hierarchical structure and how do triad members collaborate with other members in reality? Given that some form of hierarchical structure remains in contemporary triad organized crime, what kind of social structure exists to support such hierarchical structure. In this seminar, Sharon Kwok will firstly share her research experience and the difficulties in studying triad societies. Secondly, she will provide a general overview on the current structure of triad societies. Thirdly, based on the data collected, she will highlight the drawbacks of current perspectives in studying Chinese criminal organizations.  

Department of Sociology and Centre for criminology

The Risk of School Rampage: Assessing and Preventing Threats of School Violence

April 30, 2015 Thursday
Room813, 8/F, The Jockey Club Tower, HKU

Deadly school rampage shootings continue to plague society and inspire widespread fear, yet scant attention has been paid to averted incidents where student plots to attack their schools were thwarted before anyone could be harmed. The research to be discussed in this talk utilizes in-depth interviews conducted with police and school officials directly involved in averting potential rampage attacks to explore the processes by which threats are assessed and school rampage plots are prevented. Subsequently, international comparisons and policy implications will be discussed.

Dr. Eric Madfis is an Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice at the University of Washington, Tacoma and a widely-recognized expert on the causes and prevention of school violence. He has spoken to audiences around the world about his research, including at the 2015 United States Congressional Briefing on School Safety and Violence Prevention. Dr. Madfis has published numerous journal articles and book chapters about issues of juvenile delinquency, school crime and discipline, criminological theory, and the sociology of education. His recently completed book entitled The Risk of School Rampage: Assessing and Preventing Threats of School Violence explores perceptions of and reactions to threats of multiple-victim rampage shootings in American public schools.


Department of Sociology and Centre for criminology

Lifestyle Migration in Asia – An Interpretive Photography Exhibition
不分畛域 - 從亞洲看生活方式的遷徙攝影展

Lifestyle Migration involves relatively affluent people moving either part-time or full-time, permanently or temporarily, to places that they believe will offer them a better quality of life. There is usually an economic incentive to their mobility, but the search for the good life is paramount in their motivations. Lifestyle migration is an increasingly widespread phenomenon, with effects for migrants, locals, cultural life, and economic life. So how and why do lifestyle migrants move from one place to another? Does their old home still play a role in their new lives? What are their needs and aspirations, and the continuities and discontinuities of their mobile lives? What aspects of the social infrastructure made particular destinations attractive for them?

This photography exhibition offers us a glimpse of the diverse motivations and everyday experiences of Western and Hong Kong lifestyle migrants in Thailand, Malaysia and China. Through the eyes of participants in our two-year research project ‘Lifestyle Migration in East Asia: A Comparative Study of British and Asian Lifestyle Migrants’ (RES-000-22-4357) funded by the ESRC/Hong Kong Research Grants Council, these photographs reveal fascinating aspects of life ‘on the move’ for men and women, young families, and those in retirement. The accompanying excerpts offer us a glimpse of the interior worlds of migrants in which experiences, loyalties and memories from two places co-exist and combine.

Opening Public Seminar
Thinking Globally about Lifestyle Migration
24th April 2015, 3pm – 5:30pm
Rm813, Department of Sociology, The Jockey Club Tower, Centennial Campus, The University of Hong Kong

‘One World is Not Enough’: The Interweaving of Time and Space in the Lived Experiences of Lifestyle Migrants in East Asia
Professor Rob Stones, University of Western Sydney

Privileged Migration in Malaysia: Women’s Life-making Practices
Professor Karen O’Reilly, University of Loughborough

Cross-Border Migration and Home-making Practices in Hong Kong
Professor Maggy Lee, University of Hong Kong

Self-Initiated Swiss Migrants on the quest for a ‘Good Life’ in China
Ms Aldina Camenisch, Institute for Cultural Studies and European Anthropology, University of Basel

Exhibition Period: April 24 - May 8, 2015
Venue: MC³@702 Creative Space
The Jockey Club Tower,
Centennial Campus, HKU

Opening Hours
Mon-Fri           10:30am - 6:00pm
Sat                   11:00am – 5:00pm
Closed on Sundays and Public Holidays


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]