1932

Abstract

I was initially reluctant to become a sociologist because my father, William Foote Whyte, was a prominent sociologist. Growing up during the Cold War led me in sequence through studying physics to Russian studies and then into Chinese studies, and I finally chose sociology as the best discipline for research on China, the primary focus of my career. The theoretical and methodological eclecticism of our discipline enabled me to do research on many intriguing research problems regarding contemporary Chinese society, first at a distance from Hong Kong and then through a series of collaborative surveys conducted within China. I found I could use sociological theories to more accurately and objectively interpret Chinese social patterns, while at the same time some paradoxical features of Chinese society enabled me to challenge existing social science theories. Over the course of my career I was gratified to see the sociological study of China move from being a somewhat marginal specialty into joining the mainstream of our discipline.

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2021-07-31
2024-06-18
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