13.09.2016 - 13:41:44
Three Questions to Xueguang Zhou
In July 2016, we had the pleasure of welcoming Professor Zhou. We interviewed him following his visit to Duisburg. He speaks about his impression of Germany and his stay at the IN-EAST.
Professor Zhou shares similar research interests in local government behaviours in China with his fellow researchers at our institute.
What is your impression of Germany and your stay in Duisburg?
Although I came to Germany a few times before to attend conferences and workshops, this is the first time that I spent an extended period of time here and got to know her much better. I am impressed by the variety of local cultures and histories across Germany, beautiful sceneries, and well-functioning institutions such as the railroad, public transportation and German beer!
I enjoyed staying in Duisburg. It is quiet, simple, and convenient, and has easy access to forest and nature. It gives me great opportunity to walk around and get to know local environment.
I am most impressed with the IN-EAST. I have met and chatted with several faculty colleagues and graduate students, and have learned a lot from these conversations. I find my colleagues here academically engaging, intellectually interesting, easy to have a conversation, and with broad knowledge about both area studies and discipline-based academic activities, perhaps characteristic of IN-EAST as an interdisciplinary field of research. I am also impressed with many students that I have interacted. Compared with those students I am familiar with (mostly sociology Ph.D. students who study China), whose work is more driven by academic literature, students here work on exciting research topics drawn from their close observations about what is going on in China and they conduct well-grounded fieldwork or plan to do so. In comparison to students who study China in my field in the U.S., I thought students here are more close to the ground and engage in close observations and in-depth fieldwork (or plan to do so).
What is your major field in Sociology and Asian Studies?
My field of research is in the sociology of organizations, social stratification, and comparative sociology, with a special focus on Chinese society. My main research focus in recent years examines the institutional logics of governance in China, Chinese organizations and management, and state-society interactions in this context. I have completed a book manuscript in Chinese that summarized this line of research in the past decade.
What kind of research projects are you currently working on? What might be future fields of your research?
I have two ongoing research projects. The first one is a systematic study of personnel flows in the Chinese bureaucracy in order understand intraorganizational structure and personnel management in the Chinese governments. The second one is a study of the historical origins of the Chinese bureaucracy, focusing on historical practice of personnel recruitment, mobility, and knowledge structure of Chinese bureaucrats. My ultimate interest, though, is to use the historical/comparative lens to better understand the institutional foundations of the Chinese bureaucracy in contemporary China.
As for my future research, I hope to explore the ideological/cultural aspects of Chinese organizations/bureaucracies.
During my stay in IN-EAST, I have been reading Max Weber and related work on German history. Historically, China and Germany/Europe embarked on distinct paths of state building and nation building. My stay in Germany this time leaves me deep impressions and appreciation about the importance of religion in what Germany has become. I am hoping that my future work can take a close look at the Chinese case in a similar light.