Conversation with dr. Zhuoni Zhang, editor of Sociology Compass

Conversation with dr.  Zhuoni Zhang, editor of Sociology Compass
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Compass of Sociology happy to congratulate Dr. Zhuoni Zhang lead the Social Stratification Section as Associate Editor with Professor Xiaogang Wu. Zhuoni is an Associate Professor of Urban Management and Design at the Center for Society at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (Guangzhou). The Sociology Compass Associate Editor’s role is to lead the ordering of recent review articles by subject area. We took the opportunity to speak with Zhuoni about her research and the goals of the Social Stratification Unit as she and Professor Wu join the Sociology Compass editorial team. An interview with Professor Xiaogang Wu can be found here.

Tell us about your scientific activities and how you came to study sociology?

I am a sociologist and demographer by quantitative training. My research focuses on inequalities in education, labor markets, occupational and earnings, health and subjective well-being, with a particular focus on internal migration in mainland China and cross-border migration from mainland China to Hong Kong. My recent research interests include comparative studies of urban governance, population migration, and social and spatial inequality in Chinese cities.

Sociology was my undergraduate major. Before entering college, I had no idea what sociology was, but it turned out to be an interesting subject that gave me new perspectives to understand (or think about) what was going on in society. I remembered that this was the first time I began to think seriously about my personal experiences (eg, moving from a rural to an urban area as a child and then going to college) as the result of the interaction of macro-social forces (eg, the opening up of China). , economic reform, population migration) and household strategies, not just individual efforts or successes. In retrospect, my family, one of many waves of internal Chinese migration, sought better economic and educational opportunities and better positions in the social hierarchy. Personal experience and my undergraduate studies in sociology led me to research areas of urbanization, population migration, social stratification and inequality.

What questions would you consider the most compelling or important to your research area at this time?

While “the inevitability of change may be a universal constant”, recent changes in the economic, political and social spheres around the world, especially in the wake of COVID-19, pose significant challenges for all stakeholders. Academia is no exception. I believe that the primary task of social stratification scholars would be to uncover the processes and consequences of social stratification in local and comparative contexts in the post-pandemic era and to play a more mundane role in program design and policy. assessments that promote social equality.

In addition, the digital divide has become a new axis of social stratification and social inequality. Social groups differ in access to and use of digital devices and products, as well as the benefits and tangible outcomes of use. We will also explore digital inequality, its drivers and consequences, and the intertwining relationship between digital and social inequality. To achieve this goal, we may need to use cutting-edge research methodologies with robust combinations of survey/census data and new data sources (eg, geo-location, digital footprint, etc.) and conduct interdisciplinary research to optimize benefits. digital technologies for human well-being.

What do you think sociological research contributes to society? Why is this important?

Sociology has changed the way I think, and this is one example of how sociology is relevant to individuals. As C. Wright Mills pointed out in his classic book Sociological imaginationsociology is a tool that helps individuals relate their patterns of behavior to larger social forces and identify the social forces that shape individuals’ life chances.

Sociological research is important for social groups and society in general. I consider sociology to be a discipline that is very concerned with marginalized groups in society (for example, children living in poverty, rural-urban migrants, women in the labor market, etc.), examining the causes and consequences of social inequality. processes that generate inequality. These studies help to understand the macro-level social forces, such as institutional constraints, that affect a particular social group. In addition, sociological research can contribute to the community at large by providing a comprehensive picture of social hierarchy, identifying social problems, and providing insights into social structures that have strong political implications for creating better social equality.

What do you and Professor Wu, as Associate Editor of the Social Stratification Section of the Sociology Compass, look for when commissioning and evaluating review articles?

We are looking for review articles on common topics, with a preference for non-Western contexts, and emerging topics on critical issues in the post-pandemic era and/or social stratification in the digital age. We welcome review articles on empirical work from a comparative perspective and reviews on the specific topic of stratification from interdisciplinary efforts.

What inspires you to participate in Sociology Compass as an associate editor?

Diversity. The journal is a compass for the various departments of sociology, aimed at a broad audience and uniquely branded as an author-friendly publication. When we spoke with Dr. Zarine L. Rocha, Editor-in-Chief, who heads the review articles department, was excited by the idea of ​​publishing the journal as a compass for global inclusion to highlight the valuable work of sociologists. the world and hear different perspectives. I believe that the Department of Social Stratification will be a good platform for the international exchange of existing knowledge and future directions for various topics in this field.

What would you put at the top of a recommended reading list for readers and researchers new to your discipline?

  1. Mills, C. Wright. in 1959 Sociological imagination. Oxford University Press.
  2. Grusky, David B., and Szonja Szelenyi. in 2011 The Inequality Reader: Contemporary and Key Readings on Race, Class, and Gender (2n.d ed.). Routledge.
  3. Desmond, Matthew. in 2016 Evicted: Poverty and Profit in Urban America. New York: Crown.

Dr Zhang is Associate Editor with Professor Xiaogang Wu, whose interview you can read here.

Professor Wu and Dr. Zhang take over these associate editorships from Dr. Joan Maya Mazelis, who ends her term in 2022. at the end We would like to thank Dr. Maya Mazelis for her dedication and commitment to leading the Social Stratification Unit. last year. You can view the articles published during this term here.

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