13 Apr 2011

SOAS Centre of Taiwan Studies Seminar TODAY: Framing Sociology in Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore

Framing Sociology in Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore: Geopolitics, State and its Practitioners

Albert Tzeng (University of Warwick)

Date: 13 April 2011

Time: 6:00-7:30 PM

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings Room: 116

This project aims to map and compare how sociology as an institutionalized discipline of teaching and research had been developed in Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore since its introduction in 1950s-60s, and to interpret the observed trajectories and patterns in light of social-historical contexts. The three cases share some similarities in their colonial past, Chinese-populated demography, and development trajectories as ‘Asian tigers,’ but demonstrate sharp contrast in post-war politics (geopolitics, state- politics, and identity politics). Three levels of analytical categories are involved in the analysis: regional geopolitical, state-institutional, and (collective) practitioner-level. On the one hand, this project attempt to look beyond the national container and bring various trans-border factors (e.g. scholarly migration, foreign funding and knowledge flow) into analytical scope under the conceptual framework ‘world system of knowledge network.’ On the other hand, the explanation sought is to be grounded on a sympathetic understanding of the actors from their psychological perspective. The analyze comparatively how sociology were institutionalized in the three places, the outlook of their scholarship, their negotiation with the Western paradigm, the interface with the public, and the varied consequence and responses in face of the recent managerialist higher education reform. Data used include literature and archive material, bibliographic and demographic dataset, interview with sociologists stratified by bibliographical factors, and some ethnographic observation in the field study.

About Albert Tzeng

Albert Tzeng is currently sociology PhD student in University of Warwick. He studied chemistry and psychology in National Taiwan University and holds MSc in sociology from LSE. Prior to academic pursuit, he had worked as book editor, marketing professional, parliamentary assistant and election campaign manager in Taiwan. He had published a book about his earlier journeys in Western China.