Fei Xiaotong Conference report

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  • Events organised at LSE in honour of the centenary of Fei Xiaotong's birth
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Events organised at LSE in honour of the Centenary of Fei Xiaotong's Birth


By Jing Xu
(Research Assistant of CCPN, LSE; PhD candidate of Institute of Commonwealth Studies, School of Advanced Studies, University of London, 10 December 2010)

To commemorate the centenary of Professor Fei Xiaotong's (Fei Hsiao-Tung 1910-2005) birth, the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) held an international conference on the 5th December and a series of seminars from 6th to 8th December. Fei was a famous sociologist, anthropologist, social activist and senior Chinese political leader. At LSE he was an Honorary Fellow and one of the school's most distinguished alumni. The events were entitled "Understanding China and Engaging with Chinese people", and organised by Asia Research Centre (LSE), Department of Anthropology (LSE), China in Comparative Perspective Network (CCPN, LSE), Zhejiang UK Association (ZJUKA) and School of Sociology and Anthropology, Sun Yat-sen University, China.

Despite the chilly weather, more than 200 people travelled from China, Taiwan, Japan, USA, Switzerland, Belgium, Netherlands, Spain, and many cities in the UK, to attend this conference. They included academics and students, politicians, policy makers, consultants, professionals and practitioners of different kinds of businesses. The conference was opened by a welcome speech from Professor Danny Quah (Co-Director of LSE Global Governance Centre). Following him, Mr. Xun Wu, Minister Counsellor of Chinese Embassy to the UK, made a speech in which he recalled the first time his father, a Professor of Wuhan University, told him about Fei Xiaotong. After Sir Howard Davis's speech on video, Professor George Gaskell, the LSE Pro-Director, made a speech representing the School. Professor Hangsheng Zheng, former Vice President of Renmin University of China, Honourary President of the Chinese Sociological Association (CSA) representing the CSA, Dr Ruth Kattumuri (Co-Director of the Asia Research Centre, LSE), and Professor Lizhong Xie (Head of Department of Sociology and Institute of Sociology & Anthropology, Peking University, China) also gave the speeches. Professor Yongping Zhou of China Youth University for Political Sciences, addressed the conference on behalf of Ms Zonghui Fei, who was Fei's only daughter, unfortunately unable to attend the conference for reasons of health. Zhou presented Ms Fei's gifts to her father's Alma mater: an English-Chinese bilingual volume of present life in China which was based on Fei's PhD dissertation at LSE in 1938, together with Fei's 20 volumes of completed work.

The conference focused on China both as a part of a global society and as a culture undergoing dramatic change. It examined the importance and relevance of Fei Xiaotong's academic contributions and policy studies with interdisciplinary and comparative perspectives. Professor Gary G. Hamilton (University of Washington, Seattle, USA), the translator of Fei's Xiangtu Zhongguo (From the Soil: the Foundations of Chinese Society, 1992), talked about what Western social scientists can learn from the writings of Fei Xiaotong; Professor Harro von Senger (University of Freiburg, Switzerland), taking the term of "moulue" as an example, analyzed the problem of the transfer of "sinological earthbound" words and concepts in the cultural exchange between China and the West. The conference culminated with LSE economic historian Dr Kent Deng's comparison between Fei Xiaotong and Mao Zedong, which provoked dramatic discussion among attendees. Subsequently, Professor Chien Chiao returned us to the charming realm of anthropology with his slow but kind voice articulating his study of guanxi and strategy. In his discussion Professor Christopher Howe also recalled his study of Fei's work at SOAS and the influence of Fei's work in Hong Kong where he worked.

The presentations and discussion in the afternoon put the focus on a comparative perspective. Professor Daming Zhou from Sun Yat-sen University, China, talked about the "contributions to anthropological village studies through a comparison of two classic Chinese village studies by Daniel Kulp and Fei xiaotong respectively"; Dr Hong Park from Hokkaido University, Japan, compared "family properties" between rural Japan and China based on fieldwork in Kaixiangong Village. Dr Xiangqun Chang, the CCPN coordinator, gave a presentation on the comparison between Fei Xiaotong's chaxugeju and her own work on lishang-wanglai, a socio-cultural perspective on the "China model", which was very well received. On behalf of Mr Cary Z Woo, Renmin University of China (who is visiting the USA), Dr Ye Liu, a CCPN RA, made a presentation on the comparative work between Fei Xiaotong and Ebenezer Howard on Migration Flows and Urbanization. Professor Wenjiong Yang, visiting fellow of Anthropology, LSE and Lanzhou University, China, presented a paper 'Rethinking of Multiple Maternities in Ethnic Minorities' Area of China: A new perspective' and some thoughts from Fei Xiaotong's research on Ethnic Minorities in China. Finally, Professor R. David Arkush, author of 'Fei Xiaotong and Sociology in Revolutionary China' (1981), reviewed Fei's work and life journal. In his discussion Professor HW de Burgh, Director, China Media Centre, University of Westminster, made an excellent effort to find common themes in these very different talks. The conference ended up happily with the CCPN Director and Chair of the conference, Professor Stephan Feuchtwang's closing remarks.

Following the international conference, three related seminars also took place at LSE from the 6th to the 8th December. On the 6th December, Professor Yongping Zhou (Head of Institute for Youth Development of China, China Youth University for Political Sciences, China) and Ms Chenshu Zhou (Stanford University, USA) ran a seminar to talk about the topic of income and stratification in Kaixiangong Village from 1936 to 2010. Zhou was Professor Fei Xiaotong's first PhD student at Peking University. He is the author of "Seventy years in Kaixiangong Village". Based on his study on Kaixiangong Village, he stressed his view of "building the rational society and harmonious community"- a social development concept of China.

The second seminar, which took place on the 7th December, moved the focus from village study to the development of agricultural enterprises. The speakers were Associate Professor Liu Xiuqin from College of Economics & Management, South China Agricultural University (SCAU) and Ms Ma Di from School of Finance, Central University of Finance and Economics, China. Because of the traffic jam, the seminar was delayed. In spite of a reduced number of participants,, the seminar and discussion went well. The speakers argued that the development of agribusiness is a process of capital integration in which the capital inherited from the family combined with rural social capital, which meanwhile, has been continuously syncretising the capital from other social levels. The content and nature of the organisation changes with different stages of the development of the enterprise. Highly qualified rural social capital plays a critical role in the emergence and development of native agribusiness by enabling organisation to conquer the double obstacles of limitations of capital and institutions at an early stage. Agribusiness achieves necessary organisation efficiency through substituting the factor of hierarchy for the rural social capital integrant including trust, regulation, and networking. This talk tried to explain the existence and growth of non-typical hierarchical organisations and provide new insights into the status and the development of the agribusiness.

The final seminar, on the 8th December, moved the focus from rural to urban study. This talk was based on 24 fieldwork cases of urban communities in the Northeast of China. The study summarized the new features of community conflict in present Chinese cities as five aspects of conflict, that is, traits, types, extent, cause and solution. It attracted many scholars' interests, such as Professor Stephan Feuchtwang, Anthropology, and Professor Jude Howell, social policy and development studies, LSE; and Professor Harriet Evans, from University of Westminster etc. In her talk, Professor Changli Bu (Professor of Sociology, Changchun University of Science and Technology, China) analysed the new features of community conflict in present Chinese cities such as the trend towards diversity and complexity, which is different from that of the unit communities under the planning system. At the end of this talk Professor Bu made a methodological comparison between Fei's community study and her new approach. After the presentation many questions were raised from the audience, in particular, a qualified lawyer brought forward many concrete questions on the role which lawyers play in mediating community conflicts and the trend of the evolution of Chinese judicial institutions.

According to Dr Xiangqun Chang, the event convenor, based on the theme of "Understanding China and engaging with Chinese people", this event demonstrated two characteristics: Firstly, multi-disciplinary participation; speakers came from sociology, anthropology, ethnology, sinology, history, economic history, agricultural economics and management science and other disciplines. Secondly, exercises of comparative perspective in various forms: Chinese and non-Chinese writings and thinking, Chinese concept of moulue and relevant terms in the west; influence in Chinese society of Fei Xiaotong and Mao Zedong; Fei's concept of chaxugeju and its updated version lishang-wanglai; family property in rural Chinese and Japanese societies; Fei Xiaotong and Ebenezer Howard on migration flows and urbanization; income and social stratification in the 1930s when Fei did his fieldwork and different historical periods; community studies in rural and urban areas. This commemoration of Fei Xiaotong shows an example of how Chinese scholars' social scientific studies on China can be introduced into general social scientific disciplines. The significance of the event in commemorating Fei Xiaotong is reflected by three aspects: (1) it calls for the international academic community to re-examine Fei Xiaotong's academic contributions to human knowledge from perspectives of fieldwork, methodology and theory; (2) it brought together scholars from China and other countries and regions to discuss Fei Xiaotong's academic thoughts relating to their own work to deepen understanding of Chinese society; (3) this event made a positive attempt in this direction by introducing Chinese social scientific products, which had a relatively low recognition by international academia, to human knowledge.

Professor Fei bore in his mind a historical responsibility for the Chinese nation and his fellow people. He spent almost his whole life advancing mutual understanding between human beings as a process of "cultural awareness". This was his life-time pursuit. He combined his own career ambition and academic specialty with the country's prosperity, social progress and people's happiness. His attitude of modesty and impersonality was always associated with his academic research work. He was neither humble nor proud and always gave priority to the facts, which well represents the noble spirit of an intellectual. Both his contributions to academic research and his humanity are a valued treasure for us all.


Related information:

The event on organisers' related websites:

The London School of Economics and political Science:
Asia Research Centre, LSE:
Department of Anthropology, LSE: http://www2.lse.ac.uk/anthropology/events/Conferences/conferences.aspx
China in Comparative Perspective Network (CCPN), LSE:
English version: http://www2.lse.ac.uk/anthropology/research/CCPN/newsEvents/CCPN/2010/

Chinese Version:

Confucius Institute for Business London (CIBL), LSE:
Zhejiang UK Association (ZJUKA): http://www.zjuka.org.uk/page12.html 
Click HERE for School of Sociology and Anthropology, Sun Yat-sen University, China:  .

2. News and reports about the event:

Xinhua News Agent photo news:http://news.xinhuanet.com/photo/2010-12/05/c_12849660.htm 
Xinhua News Agent video news: http://news.xj163.cn/news/2010-12/06/content_824038.htm
Chinese Reading Weekly: http://epaper.gmw.cn/zhdsb/html/2010-12/22/nbs.D110000zhdsb_01.htm 
Wujiang Daily: http://www.js.xinhuanet.com/wujiang/2010-12/20/content_21671148.htm
Oeeee website – an in depth report: http://news.oeeee.com/a/20101214/955245_1.html 
Chinese Embassy in the UK website News: http://www.chinese-embassy.org.uk/chn/zygx/culture/t775429.htm 
CCPN website - an in depth report with a full set of photos:

   Click here to download the English version of the report and photos
   Click here to download the Chinese version of the report and photos
   Click here to see the Chinese version of the report and photos

3. Related references:

Fei Xiaotong's Academic Contributions to the World Sociology and Anthropology
-- A Dialogue between a Western Scholar and a Western Trained Chinese Scholar
By Gary Hamilton and Xiangqun Chang

Click HERE for English version

Click HERE for Chinese version

[The Chinese version has been published on 3rd and 10th November 2010, the International Column, China Reading Weekly (Zhonghua Dushu Bao)], web links:




Click HERE to Chinese page




(英国伦敦经济学院中国比较研究网 (CCPN) 助理研究员、伦敦大学高研院博士候选人,2010年12月10日)


纪念大会于2010年12月5日在伦敦政治经济学院东楼的演讲大厅举行。尽管前几天的大雪已经融化,但气温仍然十分寒冷,但似乎丝毫没有影响到与会者奔赴大会的热情。来自中国、台湾、日本、美国、西班牙、瑞士、比利时、荷兰和英国等国家和地区的两百多人参加了本次大会。与会者包括著名学者、政治家、外交官、决策者、各类专家、各类商业从业者以及学生。大会在伦敦经济学院全球治理中心共同主任Danny Quah教授的欢迎致辞中拉开帷幕,紧接着中国驻英国大使馆文化处公使衔参赞吴逊先生向大会致了辞,在播放了伦敦经济学院院长霍华德•戴维斯爵士致辞的录像后,伦敦经济学院副院长George Gaskell教授代表学院致贺词, 前人民大学副校长、中国社会学会名誉会长郑杭生教授代表中国社会学会致辞。之后,LSE亚洲研究中心共同主任Ruth Kattumuri博士、北京大学社会学系主任及社会学和人类学研究所所长谢立中教授分别向大会致了辞。由于健康关系,费孝通教授的女儿费宗惠未能来参加大会,委托周拥平教授代表她及全家向大会表达了祝福与感谢,并代她向伦敦经济学院图书馆赠送了最新出版的《费孝通全集》和《江村经济》中英文合订本。

大会着眼于中国在全球中的地位,展示中国作为全球社区的一份子正在经历着的巨大变革,在此背景下,从跨学科和比较的视野,讨论了费孝通在学术及其政策研究的贡献和重要性。费孝通的《乡土中国》的翻译者、美国西雅图华盛顿大学的社会学家韩格理教授(Gary G. Hamilton)提出了西方社会科学家能从费孝通的著作中学到些什么的问题,紧接着,来自瑞士的汉学家胜雅律教授(Harro von Senger)以"谋略"为例,分析了如何在中国和西方的文化交流中突破汉学研究的"乡土",对一些固着于文化的词和概念的转换问题。LSE经济史系准教授邓钢博士关于费孝通与毛泽东对中国社会的影响的比较,将会议的气氛推向了高潮。之后,来自台湾的乔健教授用他缓慢但是亲切的描述将我们重新带回到了人类学富有魅力的王国中。在评议时,Christopher Howe回忆了自己当时在伦敦大学亚非学院(SOAS)研读费孝通的著作的日子并结合他在香港工作的经历论及了费孝通的研究在香港的影响。

下午的发言和讨论以中国比较研究为重点。来自中山大学的周大鸣教授比较分析了凤凰村与江村及其对人类学村落研究贡献,来自日本北海道大学的朴红博士以中国开弦弓村的社会调查为基础,比较了日本农村与中国在"家产"这个概念上的相同与不同。接着,LSE中国比较研究网负责人常向群博士把费孝通的"差序格局" 与她本人的"礼尚往来"概念在经验研究与理论抽象层面上加以比较,提出了社会文化视野下的"中国模式",引起了很大的兴趣。之后,伦敦大学刘烨博士发表了芝加哥大学访问学者吴志明先生对费孝通和霍华德就人口流迁与城市化的比较一文;伦敦经济学院访问学者、兰州大学的杨文炯教授发表了费孝通对西北少数民族地区的多元性的研究的新视角和新观点;最后,《费孝通传》的作者、美国爱荷华大学历史系的欧达伟教授对费孝通的生涯及其贡献做了总结性发言。在西敏寺大学中国传媒中心主任戴雨果教授(Professor HW de Burgh)的精彩点评之后,大会在伦敦经济学院中国比较研究项目主任、人类学系的王斯福教授(Stephan Feuchtwang)的总结发言下圆满结束。

纪念大会之后,还举办了三场专题学术讲座。中国青年政治学院副教授周拥平博士与斯坦福大学的周晨书女士于12月6日做了题为"收入与阶层:江村2010" 的专题讲座。周拥平是费孝通先生在北京大学的第一位博士生,他于2005-08年间到江村做了较为系统的田野,著有《江村七十年》。在本次讲座中,他在从 1936年到2010年江村村民的收入作了简单的勾勒之后,重点介绍了江村村民2010年的收入情况,并对其村民的阶层状况作了描述。最后,周拥平强调了他在江村研究基础上提出的建设"理性社会及和谐社区"的中国社会发展观。


纪念活动的专题讲座顺着从农村到城市的逻辑展开,12月8日举行了终场讲座。长春理工大学社会学系卜长莉教授的题为"当前中国城市社区矛盾冲突问题呈现的新特点",在讲座前就收到许多教授的关注和兴趣,如著名人类学家王斯福教授(Stephan Feuchtwang)、LSE社会政策和发展研究专家Jude Howell教授以及西敏寺大学中国专家艾华教授(Harriet Evans)等。卜长莉结合费孝通的社区研究的方法论,分析了中国城市社区的矛盾冲突具有多样化、复杂化的趋势,以及呈现不同于计划体制下的单位制社区矛盾冲突的一些新特点。与会者中的一位职业律师就调解社区冲突中律师的作用、及其从乡土中国的"无讼"到未来的中国社会的变化等提出了许多具体的问题。






I. 伦敦经济学院费孝通纪念活动相关信息的网页:

伦敦经济学院: http://www2.lse.ac.uk/publicEvents/events/2010/20101205t0900vLSE.aspx|
伦敦经济学院亚洲研究中心: http://www2.lse.ac.uk/asiaResearchCentre/events/individual/2010/101205-Conference.aspx
伦敦经济学院人类学系: http://www2.lse.ac.uk/anthropology/events/Conferences/conferences.aspx|
中文: http://www2.lse.ac.uk/anthropology/research/CCPN/ChineseSite/newsEvents/
英文: http://www2.lse.ac.uk/anthropology/research/CCPN/newsEvents/CCPN/2010/
伦敦经济学院伦敦商务孔子学院(CIBL): http://www.lse.ac.uk/collections/confuciusInstitute/events/Default.htm
英国浙江联谊会(ZJUKA): http://www.zjuka.org.uk/page12.html


《吴江日报》: http://www.js.xinhuanet.com/wujiang/2010-12/20/content_21671148.htm

III. 相关资料:



第294期 2010-11-3 http://iculture.fltrp.com/epaperdetails.asp?icntno=185002
第295期 2010-11-10 http://iculture.fltrp.com/epaperdetails.asp?icntno=192002|



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