The Department of Sociology of Hong Kong Baptist University is a small department with colleagues pursuing research that best reflects their strength. We seek to create foci of efforts that can contribute to the development of sociology as a discipline and to addressing social issues of increasing local and international significance
Our research interests cluster around four major areas, including (1) gender, family and life course, (2) social networks and social inequalities, (3) globalization and social change, and (4) cultures and identities. Situated in the context of Hong Kong and greater China, our research work offers theoretically informed and empirically supported analysis to address issues brought forth by changes in contemporary societies in general.
This research group focuses on gender, families and life course as key aspects of social organization and draws attention to their intricate relationships. On the one hand, it examines how gender affects the organization of families and life course as social institutions. On the other hand, it investigates the mutual implication of families and life courses through inter-generational relationships and how both families and life courses are connected to the social construction of gender, especially in relation to sexualities and the arrangements for care in different social contexts and scales.
Our research projects include studies on the conditions underlining young people’s transitions and mobility experiences, women’s property rights in Chinese lineages, sexualities in marriages, domestic divisions of labor in non-traditional families, changing practices of mothering among different generations of rural-urban migrants in China, practices of transnational childcare by South-east Asian migrant workers and their families, educational strategies of families in inter-generational transmission of privileges, transformation of elderly care by aging immigrants, impact of migration restrictions on life courses and families, and relationships of married women with their natal families.
Network analysis is the study of social relations among a set of actors. Network analysts argue that how an individual lives depends in large part on how that individual is tied into the larger web of social connections, and that the success or failure of societies and organizations often depends on the patterning of their internal structure. This structural approach is applied in many fields within sociology, such as social stratification and inequality, family and kinship, migration, health, social media, economic sociology, and political sociology. Members of this research group focus on social integration and social support among college students, marriage and social networks, video games and friendship formation, social capital and internal migration in Hong Kong and in Mainland China, and family and care-giving across Chinese communities.
As a research domain, ‘globalization and social change’ draws attention to a wide array of social, cultural, economic and political changes that traverse the national boundary, the analysis of which often involves a consideration of the ways ideas, practices, and institutions at both the global and local levels have facilitated, constrained, or negotiated to generate the transformation in question. The world capitalist system, global production networks, global culture, migration, transnational identity, and transnational care provision are some of the pertinent topics. Researchers adopt qualitative methods such as ethnography, in-depth interview, observation, quantitative methods that involve survey or statistical analysis of existing dataset, and historical-comparative methods that involve systematic examination of archival and/or other historical data.
Members of this research group investigate a variety of topics including China’s economic rise and its sociopolitical ramifications, the continuing relevance of the developmental state for South Korea and Taiwan, consumer culture in China, cultural globalization and its implication for global cultural inequality, practices of boundary-making among ethnic Chinese migrants in Australia, state and co-ethnic exploitation among Chinese migrants in Australia, Taiwanese immigrants and the changing logics of elder care, as well as transnational healthcare seeking among Taiwanese migrants.
Contemporary academic studies of culture span several disciplines and dozens of subfields, conceptualize ‘culture’ in diverse in contested ways, adopt quantitative, qualitative, and interpretive methods, treat culture as an explanans and an explanandum, and develop numerous and divergent theoretical frameworks. This research group mainly works in the subfields of cultural sociology, cultural anthropology, ethnic and migrant identities, sexual identities, sociology of popular culture, consumer culture, and youth cultures and identities.
Some of the specific research topics we have written on include the subcultural consumption of fashion styles by Chinese rural migrant workers, cultural anthropology of poonchoi in Hong Kong, hybridization of gay identities in Hong Kong and China, ethnic boundary processes of different Chinese groups in Australia, the Cantonese dialect and community organization in Hong Kong, and the neoliberalization of nightlife in China.