Beckoning social transformation in times of change

Change is never easy, especially when it comes to such a vast and complex issue like social transformation. Earlier this year, Lingnan University has created a new Centre for Social Policy and Social Change to identify the root causes that are inhibiting positive social change.


The Centre gathers outstanding social scientists and specialists around the world with a variety of disciplinary skills and experiences to engage in local, international and comparative research that is policy relevant and pragmatic for governments and households in this rapidly changing world.


“Lingnan University has a solid group of 8 to 9 social scientists and specialists dedicated to the cause of social change for the better. This is what gives it its distinctive strength in social policy compared to other universities,” says Ray Forrest, Centre Director.


Exploring the crux of social change


The four interconnected themes that the Centre explores are: Cities and Social Cohesion, Higher Education and New Mobilities, New Dimensions of Inequality, and The Family, Welfare and Youth Transition, which are domains that the Centre has identified to be the crux of social change.


Currently, the Centre is putting a particular emphasis on the 3rd theme, and will be holding an international symposium next January on Wellbeing and Inequality in the Digital Age. This will be similar to its earlier one this June on ‘The Role of Housing in China’s Social Transformation’.


“We are looking forward to the upcoming symposium. It will be analysing the highly debated issue of international social equality in today’s digital age with a focus on Hong Kong and the wider region,” says Forrest. “The use of big data is under the limelight at the moment, but we will also look at how small data and in depth research helps to compliment and give meaning to big data.”


International expert advice


In addition to the panel of sociology and social policy experts, the Centre will also soon have an international advisory group which includes government officials, NGOs and academic experts. They will give the Centre insight of other countries’ social change as well as keep it updated on Hong Kong’s current developments, propelling it to one of Hong Kong’s top research hubs for the promotion of social transformation.