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HSS1006 Introduction to Sociology: Home

Course Description

This course offers fundamental sociological knowledge and perspectives to Year 1 non-sociological students of the School of Humanities and Social Science. The course starts with a panoramic overview on Sociology and the concept of "Sociological Imagination". It then introduces students to the basic empirical data collection methods for proposing and conducting mini-sociological studies on their own. Practice of doing mini-sociological studies and the related discussion are to be conducted later in the course. The course then discusses with students how sociologists query our everyday life, by using six diversified and profound topics. Within the discussion on discursive everyday life, the key Sociological concepts and theories will be introduced and examined. Along with the topic-based lectures, the teacher will continuously conduct the sociological discussion with students on how we can live better with each other in this differentiated and ever-changing world, with reflexive field observation to communities in Shenzhen over the whole course.

Recommended Books


There are 23 chapters in this book, each dealing with a specific topic, such as criminality, politics, poverty, gender, environment etc. There are some recurring themes across the whole book, three of which reflect key issues shaping contemporary sociology and another three which characterize the approach to the subjects covered. The first three central themes are social change, globalizing of social life, social inequality such as gender and sexuality, race and ethnicity, ageing, social class and disability. The other three central themes are micro-macro link, comparative-historical stance, and relationship between the social and the personal.

Introducing Sociology, Using the Stuff of Everyday Life

This book believes that sociology and sociological thinking can be understood by looking at everyday consumer stuff. The chapters are organized into three sections. After an introductory chapter that uses the case of jeans to introduce the sociological imagination, Part I of the book focuses on the basics of consumptions: eating and drinking. While Part 2 explores how commodities connect to the social dynamic: fitting into a group, Part 3 explores how commodities connect to the social dynamic: standing out from the crowd. At the very end is an appendix on sociological methods.


本书是1939年Routledge出版社出版的Peasant Life in China一书的中译本。此书以中国人传统的生活为背景,展现了传统文化在西方影响下的变迁。本书描述了中国农民的消费、生产、分配和交易等体系,是根据对中国东部、太湖东南岸开弦弓村的实地考察写成的。旨在说明这一经济体系与特定地理环境的关系,以及与这个社区的社会结构的关系。也说明这个正在变化着的乡村经济的动力和问题。贯穿此书的两个主题是:土地的利用和农户家庭中再生产的过程。







Made in China: Women Factory Workers in a Global Workplace

This book intends to illustrate the making of the new Chinese worker-subject emerging in the contemporary period, to deal with the production of social desire, to discuss the imperatives and techniques of the production machine in producing the docile, disciplined yet productive, dagongmei, to discuss how dagongmei is crafted and then inscribed on rural female bodies, to discuss the power, discourses, and processes of sexualizing bodies in the workplace, to examine the notion of the scream and dream of workplace life, and to reflect on this volume as a political project and as the practice of a minor genre of resistance in China.



Global Cinderellas: Migrant Domestics and Newly Rich Employers in Taiwan

This book is based on fieldwork on interviewing Taiwan employers and housework employees. In addition to analyzing the interaction between employers and employees, it touches on the transformation of Taiwan's ethnic politics, class structure and gender relations. This book not only explores the upward class mobility of the mistresses’ family and the maids brought about by the phenomenon of housework employees, but also points out the racial and class inequality caused by such phenomenon. It describes how housework employees are constructed as the “other” from the perspectives of state control and public voice. The book also describes the situation and status of maids and mistresses in their family life.





Ghetto at the Center of the World: Chung King Mansions, Hong Kong

This book is prefaced with a “Prelude” constituted by a “Note on Hong Kong.” The book is then structured into five chapters: Place, People, Goods, Laws, and Future. At the end of the book, Mathews puts forward the key concept, neoliberalism, to explain the underlying ideological force that drives and shapes the development in Chungking Mansions. Mathews understands neoliberalism to emphasize the market as the arbiter of value, freedom from state regulation, and the drive for money-making. Hong Kong exemplifies neoliberalism, which makes possible Chungking Mansions as “a ghetto of middle-class striving” that enables people from the world’s peripheries to make a better life.



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