Lingnan is the only university in Hong Kong with an academic department housing both Sociology and Social Policy.
With a strong partnership and constructive dialogue between the two fields, the Department is able to combine a disciplinary focus with an interdisciplinary edge, and to link the scientific study of society with a practical interest in social reform. This distinctive feature is reflected in our close relationship with related disciplines, including Applied Psychology, Economics, and Political Science, in the Bachelor of Social Science (BSocSc) degree programme at Lingnan.
At present, we offer a major in Sociology and co-offer two majors, Social and Public Policy and Health and Social Service Management with other academic units. We also maintain and develop collaborative relationships, in both teaching and research, with other local and overseas universities.
As the “science of society,” Sociology aims to study social phenomena by using scientific methods such as questionnaire survey, in-depth interview and fieldwork. At the core of the discipline is a profound interest and concern with everyday life, social inequality, social inclusion, and social transformation. Sociology addresses a wide variety of subject matters, including family, community, ethnicity, work, culture, and social organisation to name a few. Based on systematic research, sociologists seek to propose feasible, sustainable and innovative solutions to social problems, such as poverty, labour condition, gender discrimination, deviance, and urban development.
Social Policy shares the same interest in social studies and social problems, but with a more direct focus on policy-making processes and outcomes. Drawing upon social scientific knowledge and research, Social Policy aims to promote the welfare and wellbeing of different social groups. In particular, it seeks to evaluate social and public policies in light of their contributions to the common good. Some of its key topics include health, housing, education, and ageing. In both Sociology and Social Policy, the Department has a strong interest in Hong Kong society, with a regional focus on the Asia-Pacific and a global focus in comparative studies.
While teaching and research in the Sociology and Social Policy cover a wide variety of topics, members of the Department have internationally recognised expertise in the following strategic areas:
- Comparative Policy and Social Development
- Culture and Social Inequalities
- Migration and Social Demography
(The Study of Population)
- Gender and Ethnicity
- Education and Work
- Health, Welfare and Wellbeing
- Social Gerontology (The Study of Ageing)
- Social Inclusion and Social Justice
- Urban Life and Development
In line with Lingnan’s liberal arts education, members of the Department are strongly devoted to both quality teaching and scholarly research. Thanks to the small size of the University, students can interact closely with instructors and tutors both inside and outside the classroom.
Apart from undergraduate teaching, the Department has a remarkable record in training up local and international postgraduate students in specialised areas of Sociology and Social Policy. In terms of research, our members can utilize a variety of platforms such as academic journals, books, and membership in professional and social organisations to disseminate research findings and promote the systematic study of society. Our broadest aim is to build a learning environment that can cater the diverse needs of students, scholars, and other stakeholders.
The Department of Sociology and Social Policy is an integral part of the Lingnan University and Hong Kong society at large. Besides the sister departments of Applied Psychology, Economics and Political Science, we have academic links with Lingnan’s Asia-Pacific Institute of Ageing Studies (APIAS), a flagship research center in Hong Kong. The Department also works with social welfare agencies and non-profit organisations in Hong Kong, to provide service learning and internship opportunities to our students, and to conduct collaborative projects on different social issues.
Apart from teaching and research, our members actively engage in the public life of Hong Kong, by serving as advisors and commentators, hosting conferences, speaking at forums, and featuring in multimedia. Our professional expertise and wide-ranging interests allow us to take the pulse of social change by applying in-depth knowledge and broad perspectives.