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Chinese Concepts for the Development of Sociological Theory
posted by Department of Sociology for HKU and Public
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Few readers notice that in a celebrated essay Goffman, in a footnote, acknowledges the Chinese source of his concept of face. Around the time Goffman published ‘On Face-work’ Merton urged that theory development requires, among other things, clarification or refinement of concepts. If culture is taken to be effectively related to action and meaning it is necessary to go beyond the approach in which theories, concepts and methods developed in one socio-cultural context are simply applied to ‘data’ generated in another. The present paper shows that concepts from other cultures may challenge taken-for-granted assumptions, received wisdoms and established conventions. The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate that the scope and competence of mainstream theory may be enhanced by incorporation of concepts drawn from extraneous cultures. It demonstrates that a number of selected Chinese concepts identify or illuminate properties and relations neglected in mainstream sociological theory and thereby encourage new directions of research and theorization, and suggests how these may be achieved.

Dr Xiaoying Qi is Assistant Professor of Sociology at Hong Kong Baptist University. She is the author of Globalized Knowledge Flows and Chinese Social Theory (New York & London: Routledge, 2014) as well as articles in internationally refereed journals, including American Journal of Cultural Sociology, British Journal of Sociology, International Sociology, Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour, Journal of Political Power, Journal of Sociology, and Sociology. Dr Qi edited a special issue, ‘Chinese Sociology, Sociology of China’, of the Journal of Sociology (2016).

Date/Time18/04/2017 13:00-14:15
VenueRoom 929, Jockey Club Tower, Centennial Campus, HKU

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