Subsite Background

Professor CHEN Hon-fai

Professor CHEN Hon-fai








Head and Associate Professor


Tel: (852) 2616 7127
Fax: (852) 2456 0737
Email: [email protected]




WYL102/1, Dorothy Y L Wong Building
Department of Sociology and Social Policy
Lingnan University, Tuen Mun, Hong Kong

Chen Hon-fai received his Ph.D. in Sociology in 2007 and joined Lingnan in 2012. His research lies at the intersection of social theory, historical sociology, and sociology of knowledge. He teaches Introduction to Sociology, Classical Sociological Theory, Contemporary Sociological Theory, Community and Society, and Reading Great Social Thinkers. His current research focuses on the global origins of modernity in Hong Kong, China, and East Asia.

  • Global Social Theory
  • Comparative-historical Sociology
  • History of Sociology
  • Modernity and Global History
  • Empire and Civilization
  • Culture and Knowledge

BSocSc, MPhil, PhD (CUHK)

Click here to see a full list of publications.



Chen, Hon-fai (2017) Chinese Sociology: State-Building and the Institutionalization of Globally Circulated Knowledge, London, New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Chen, Hon-fai (2017) Civilizing the Chinese, Competing with the West: Study Societies in Late Qing China, Hong Kong: Chinese University Press.

Chen, Hon-fai (2017) Catholics and Everyday Life in Macau: Changing Meanings of Religiosity, Morality and Civility, London, New York: Routledge.


Book Chapters

Chen, Hon-fai (2016) “Parsons and Nisbet: Two Versions of Sociological Communitarianism,” in Javier Trevino (ed.) The Anthem Companion to Talcott Parsons, London, New York, Delhi: Anthem Press.

Chen, Hon-fai (2016) “Catholic Church and Social Transformation: The Point of View of Macau Lay Catholics,” in Macau Diocese (ed.) A Hundred Year: The Transmission and Development of Chinese Catholic Communities in Macau. Macau: The Macau Polytechnic Press. (in Chinese)


Journal Articles and others

Chen, Hon-fai (2018) “Parsons, Talcott,” in Bryan S. Turner (ed.) The Encyclopedia of Social Theory, John Wiley & Sons.

Chen Hon-fai (2015) “Illich, Ivan,” in James D. Wright (ed.) International Encyclopedia of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Oxford: The Boulevard.

Chen Hon-fai (2014) “Civilization and Competition: Study Societies and State Formation in Late Qing China,” Journal of Social and Cultural Research, occasional paper no. 10, published by the Center of Qualitative Social Research, Hong Kong Shue Yan University.

Chen, Hon-fai, (2013). “Voluntaristic Functionalism and Conservative Modernity: Revisiting Robert Nisbet’s The Quest for Community,” Journal of Classical Sociology.

Chen, Hon-fai, (2013). “Citizenship and Personalism: Catholicism and Civil Society in Macau,” in Hao Zhidong (ed.) Civil Society: Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan. Macao, Singapore: World Scientific Press. Pp. 163-174. (in Chinese)

Chen Hon-fai (2009) “Reflexive Exceptionalism: On the Relevance of Tocqueville’s America for Modern China”, Journal of Classical Sociology 9(1): 79-95. London: Sage.


Conference Presentations

Chen, Hon-fai (2018) “The Interpretations of ‘Culture’: American Conceptual Influences in the Formation of Chinese Sociology, 1929-1949,” paper presented at the XIX World Congress of Sociology, organized by the International Sociological Association and held in Toronto, Canada, July 15-21, 2018.

Chen, Hon-fai (2018) “Rescuing Society from the Nation: Civilization, Colonialism and Intellectual Activism in Late Qing China,” paper presented at the Harvard-Yenching Institute 90th Anniversary Conference, organized by the Harvard-Yenching Institute and held in Shanghai, China, June 22-23, 2018.

Chen, Hon-fai, 2011. “From State Corporatism to Empire Building: A Civilizational and Institutional Analysis of Macao Catholicism,” paper presented at the conference China’s Appeal and its Discontents, organized and held at the Hong Kong Shue Yan University, June 20-23, 2011.

Chen, Hon-fai, 2011. “Power, Myth and Identity: Global Civilization and the Construction of Modern Chinese Citizenship in the Study Society Movement,” paper presented at the 5th Annual International Conference in Sociology, organized by the Athens Institute for Education and Research and held in Athens, Greece, May 10, 2011.


Ad Hoc Journal Reviewer

Member of the Research Committee on the History of Sociology, The International Sociological Association. (August 2010 – present)

Affiliate Member of the Center for Civil Society Studies, The Asia-Pacific Institute, The Chinese University of Hong Kong. (December 2007 – present)

General Editorial Board Member of the Journal of Classical Sociology (Sage). (January 2007 – present).


Professional Memberships

Editorial Board, Journal of Religious and Political Practice (Sage)

Editorial Board, Journal of Classical Sociology (Sage)

Member, Research Committee on the History of Sociology, International Sociological Association

Affiliate Member, Centre for Social Innovation Studies, Asia-Pacific Institute, Chinese University of Hong Kong

Academic Year:  2023 - 2024

1st Term:


Introduction to Sociology



Classical Sociological Theory

2nd Term:


Contem Sociological Theory










Chief Supervisor:   Mr. Lau Ho Wing, Kayson (PhD student)

Co-supervisor:   Mr. KWONG Ho Wang (Mphil student) & Ms. AWUKU Emefa Tonorgbevi (PhD student)