Community, Culture, and Indigenization : The Connected Histories of Sociology and Anthropology in Mainland China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong

Hon-Fai CHEN*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

Abstract

Building on a creative synthesis of sociology and anthropology, community studies represented an early attempt in the indigenization of social science under non-Western settings. In this paper, I review the historical development of community studies in mainland China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. In the 1930s and 1940s, the Yenching School of Sociology had actively promoted the field study of local communities as a viable way of understanding Chinese society and culture. With the suspension of sociology in mainland China, the tradition of community studies was kept alive but significantly transformed in Taiwan and Hong Kong. Local, expatriate and émigré sociologists and anthropologists utilized the two cities as substitutes for traditional Chinese society and as social laboratories for charting modernization and social change. With the expansion of higher education, the 1960s and 1970s witnessed a proliferation of field research on rural and urban communities in Taiwan and Hong Kong. While community studies in Chinese contexts were devoted to the broader aim of indigenization or sinicization, institutional building and theoretical breakthroughs were often dependent on Western connections rather than the anti-hegemonic initiatives of non-Western sociologists.
Original languageEnglish
JournalRevue d'Histoire des Sciences Humaines
Issue number41
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Dec 2022

Keywords

  • Chinese society and culture
  • community studies
  • indigenization
  • sociology and anthropology
  • transnational connections

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