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 
'Thinking Globally About Crime and Society: Early Career Forum' Cross-Border Cultural Property Trade in Hong Kong
Emiline C.H. Smith, University of Glasgow

Rm929, The Jockey Club Tower, Centennial Campus, HKU
1-2pm on March 24,2015

Chinese legislation regarding cultural property ascertains State ownership of almost all such objects within national borders, and the regulation of trade, import and export of privately owned objects. Hong Kong on the other hand does not provide clear legislation or policy on state/private ownership, trade, export and import of cultural property. This talk will explore the 'spaces between the laws' of both countries and the influence this has on contemporary protection of cultural property. The term ‘cultural property’ refers to objects of scientific, historic, religious, cultural and aesthetic value, including works of art, archaeological sites and artefacts (antiquities), historical buildings, religious sites, and museums. They are extremely rare, non-renewable, and vulnerable to man-made or natural threats. This talk will be based on PhD fieldwork in Hong Kong, China and Singapore, and will focus on the trade of cultural property through Hong Kong. Historically, the border between China and Hong Kong has been prone to a variety of cross-border criminal activities because of the dichotomies between the two nations’ legal systems. Cultural property is one of the commodities known to often be smuggled from mainland China into Hong Kong. Chinese antiquities in particular are in popular demand with Chinese buyers as well as buyers abroad. Through interviews with various actors involve in the trade, as well as documentary research, the PhD project from which this talk stems will analyse the structure of the cultural property trade in transitional portals from a socio-criminological perspective, clarifying what circumstances contribute to the functioning of these portals as such. The assessment of the functioning of transition portals within the global cultural property trade can aid future attempts to curb the illicit trade.


Department of Sociology 
Evangelists of Culture: One Book Programs and the Agents Who Define Literature, Shape Tastes, and Reproduce Regionalism
Professor Wendy Griswold

April 14, 2015 (Tuesday)
4:30pm – 6pm Room 929, Jockey Club Tower ,HKU

The evangelists of culture are mid-level professionals who engage directly with the public.  Sociological theories of cultural authority or popular demand fail to explain decisions made at this juncture. An analysis of 3,110 selections made by 567 One Book programs, together with interviews with One Book program leaders from all 50 states, reveals that while those people working on the front line of culture both share the literary tastes of cultural authorities and recognize contemporary reader preferences, their choices do not reflect either.  Instead, their selections are creative, the product of institutional needs, professional agendas, and a persistent tropism toward regional authors and themes.  One Book programs perpetuate a culture of place – literary regionalism – that resists both elite tastes and market forces.

Department of Sociology and Centre for criminology
Thinking Globally About Crime and Justice: Seminar Series

Social Gravity and the illusio of a Scene: A DIY Career in a DIY Music Scene?
Dr Steven Threadgold, University of Newcastle, Australia

Thursday 23rd April, 4.30-6pm
Room 813, Jockey Club Tower

In Australia, there is a heavily networked DIY music scene that spans across metropolitan and regional cities and also to international locations in Asia, Europe and North America.  Generally, the participants embrace a punk attitude, reject the label of ‘indie’ and distance themselves from media outlets that have been allegedly central to supporting youth culture. The scene has been referred to broadly as ‘the ugly Australian underground’ and has developed its own niche genres such as ‘dolewave’. Old media (records, tapes, zines) and new media (blogs, Facebook, discussion boards, Bandcamp etc.) are both key to production and consumption in the broad scene. Some young people involved in creative and artistic endeavours and taste cultures use the resources provided in these networks to create economic opportunities. The very possibility of a DIY Career depends on the reflexive maintenance of distinction to mark who or what is ‘in’ and who or what is ‘out’. The possibility of creating economically sustainable work is shaped by possession of capitals – cultural, social, economic and importantly subcultural – and how heavily one invests into, that is the illusio, of the field. DIY careerists measure their ‘success’ relationally depending on their own reflexive position in the field as artists, hobbyists, entrepreneurs or fans. This paper invokes Bourdieu’s concepts of illusio and social gravity to help us understand the ways young people are pushed and pulled in certain directions while reflexively understanding the ‘gravity’ of their own situation.



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]